NAFTA Work Permits Application Guide

Here’s NAFTA Work Permits application guide to help you gain temporary entry into Canada!

Simply by completing NAFTA work permits application online, citizens of USA and Mexico won’t need a work permit to travel to Canada for trading and business activities.

Generally speaking, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) work permits are such a unique program to business visitors, professionals, intra-company transferees, traders, as well as to investors. It creates possibilities for them to travel and work in Canada without barriers.

If you eventually come to work, invest or do business in Canada through NAFTA, you won’t be able to apply for permanent residence all through the stay. This is because the program only allows for temporary entry.

Using this article as your guide, you’ll be opportune to learn about NAFTA work permits application process, eligibility criteria for each category, and more.

About North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) work permits

NAFTA is an International Mobility Program (IMP) that focuses on deregulating trading activities between three (3) countries, namely Canada, the United States of America and Mexico. It allows free entry and exit of the markets of these countries, as well as gets rid of trade barriers, including tariffs.

Chapter 16 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – Temporary Entry for Business Persons creates possibilities for certain temporary workers to access one another’s markets.

It also makes it easy for American, Mexican and Canadian citizens to have reciprocal access to each other’s country for trading or investment purposes.

How does North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) work?

If you’re planning to submit your NAFTA work permits application, you need to understand how the agreement works in order to know your expectations.

Below are descriptions on how NAFTA program works.

  • NAFTA allows businesspersons who are American, Mexican and Canadian citizens to gain temporary entry into each other’s country for trade or investment.
  • Businesspersons included in North American Free Trade Agreement do not need a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
  • Furthermore, NAFTA eradicates work permits for business visitors.
  • NAFTA also speeds up application process for professionals and intra-company transferees as they can apply at the Port Of Entry.

Businesspersons covered in NAFTA

Here are the categories of American, Mexican, and Canadian businesspersons covered in the Chapter 16 of NAFTA work permits application.

  1. Business visitors
  2. Professionals
  3. Intra-company transferees
  4. Traders
  5. Investors

#1. Business visitors

NAFTA makes it possible for business visitors to travel to Canada for commercial activities without applying for a work permit.

Such commercial activities must be covered by Appendix 1603.A.1. These include sales, after-sales service, research & design, marketing, growth, manufacturing & production, as well as general service.

Eligibility criteria for business visitors to apply through NAFTA

Below are the requirements for foreign nationals who want to apply for North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as a business visitor.

  • Must hold citizenship of either USA or Mexico
  • The business activities must be covered on Appendix 1603.A.1
  • Business must operate internationally
  • You must have no plan to work in Canada
  • The business major source of salary payment must be from US or Mexico, and not Canada
  • Headquarter for the business should have its location in either USA or Mexico
  • Must follow Canada’s requirements for immigration regarding temporary entry

#2. Professionals

By completing NAFTA work permits application, professionals from US and Mexico can travel to Canada in order to offer professional services that has been booked in advanced by their customers.

More than 60 professional occupations are eligible under this category. Even though these professionals do not need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) sent from Canada, they must apply for work permit.

Bear in mind that the minimum educational requirements for most of these professional occupations are Bachelor’s or Licenciatura degrees.

List of professions covered by NAFTA Professionals Category

Below are occupations listed in Appendix 1603.D.1 with regard to the professionals category of NAFTA.

  • Accountant
  • Architect
  • Computer Systems Analyst
  • Disaster Relief Insurance Claims Adjuster
  • Economist
  • Engineer
  • Forester
  • Graphic Designer
  • Hotel Manager
  • Industrial designer
  • Interior designer
  • Land surveyor
  • Landscape architect
  • Lawyer
  • Librarian
  • Management consultant
  • Mathematician (including statistician and actuary)
  • Range manager/range conservationalist
  • Research assistant for colleges and universities
  • Scientific technician/technologist
  • Social worker
  • Sylviculturist (including forestry specialist)
  • Technical publications writer
  • Urban planner (including geographer)
  • Vocational counsellor

Medical/Allied Professionals

  • Dentist
  • Dietitian
  • Medical laboratory technologist/medical technologist
  • Nutritionist
  • Occupational therapist
  • Pharmacist
  • Physician (teaching or research only)
  • Physiotherapist/physical therapist
  • Psychologist
  • Recreational therapist
  • Registered nurse
  • Veterinarian


  • Agriculturist (including agronomist)
  • Animal breeder
  • Animal scientist
  • Apiculturist
  • Astronomer
  • Biochemist
  • Biologist (including plant pathologist)
  • Chemist
  • Dairy scientist
  • Entomologist
  • Epidemiologist
  • Geneticist
  • Geologist
  • Geochemist
  • Geophysicist (such as oceanographers in Mexico and USA)
  • Horticulturist
  • Meteorologist
  • Pharmacologist
  • Physicist (such as oceanographers in Canada)
  • Plant breeder
  • Poultry scientist
  • Soil scientist
  • Zoologist
  • Teachers for colleges, seminaries and universities

Eligibility criteria for professionals to apply through NAFTA

Here are the criteria for eligibility with regard to North American Free Trade Agreement for professionals.

  • Being a citizen of US or Mexico is mandatory
  • Appendix 1603.D.1 must cover your occupation
  • Must have completed degree education in a relevant discipline
  • Provision of professional level services in your area of specialization as stated on Appendix 1603.D.1
  • Job offer from a Canadian employer
  • Must comply with Canada’s existing immigration criteria for temporary entry

#3. Intra-company transferees

Indeed, citizens of USA and Mexico can transfer from their parent company, branch office, affiliate or subsidiary company to any of the same company’s office in Canada.

Before you can qualify for NAFTA work permits application, your job position in the company must relate to a managerial or executive position. You’re also eligible if your job in the company entails essential skill(s).

Eligibility criteria for intra-company transferees to apply through NAFTA

As an intra-company transferee, you need to meet all of the following requirements in order to gain temporary entry into Canada through NAFTA.

  • Must possess USA or Mexico’s citizenship
  • Must be taking on a managerial or executive job position or any position that requires specialized skills
  • Should be planning to transfer to a business venture that shares a qualifying relationship with the one in Canada. You must also be an employee of the business venture.
  • The business venture in the United States of America or in Mexico must have a parent company, branch office, subsidiary or affiliate in any part of Canada
  • Must have active employment in the business venture in a similar job position.

Besides, you must have been a full-time worker in the business for a minimum of one (1) year in the last 3 years before you applied for NAFTA.

  • Must meet the immigration requirements regarding Americans and Mexicans who seek for temporary entry

#4. Traders

As an American or Mexican trader, you can enter Canada to engage in substantial trading activities. You need Canada’s work permit to trade in the country as a citizen of US or Mexico.

No one have to send you a positive LMIA in order to qualify for NAFTA as an international trader.

Eligibility criteria for traders to apply through NAFTA

Below are criteria that applies to traders who want to apply through North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

  • Your nationality should be from USA or Mexico
  • The employing enterprise must be from the United States of America or Mexico
  • Must engage in vast trade of goods or services
  • Trade must be between Canada and either USA or Mexico
  • Job position must involve essential skills or should be a supervisory or executive positron
  • Must conform to the immigration criteria for temporary entry into Canada

#5. Investors

It is without doubt that a successful NAFTA work permits application allows investors from US and Mexico to invest a huge amount of funds in Canada.

Eligibility criteria for investors to apply through NAFTA

The following are the requirements for USA and Mexico citizens who want to apply through NAFTA.

  • Must be either a US or Mexican citizen
  • Business venture must originate from USA or Mexico
  • Must have made a huge investment or be planning to invest a large sum of money
  • Must be planning to enter Canada for only one motive, which is to set up and manage the business venture
  • Your job position in the enterprise must relate with essential skills, executive or supervisory. That’s if you will be an employee in the venture.
  • Finally, you must act in accordance with current immigration criteria for foreigners who want to enter Canada temporarily.

Steps for NAFTA work permits application

The following steps are helpful in applying for NAFTA work permits online.

STEP 1: Ask your employer in Canada to submit a job offer letter online on your behalf

Using the internet, your employer will have to submit a letter of job offer, which must entail your job duties and your personal information. The letter must also feature your passport information.

Your employer will not only have to submit your job offer but also pay a sum of CAD $230 during the submission process.

STEP 2: Print the “A Number” generated after your employer submitted the job offer

Without doubt, “A Number” will be generated immediately your employer submits the job offer. It is necessary for him or her to send it to you.

After receiving it, you need to get the “A Number” printed, and bring it along to Canada.

STEP 3: Travel to Canada

#3 of the three steps for NAFTA work permits application is to book a flight and travel to Canada. Keep in mind that you must apply for a work permit at the Port of Entry (POE).

You must tender the “A Number” at the POE in order for your work permit to get approval. If you’re applying under NAFTA’s business visitor category, you won’t need a work permit in this case.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is temporary entry to Canada?

Temporary entry through NAFTA refers to the entry of American and Mexican citizens into Canada with no aim to stay permanently.

What kind of business operations does Appendix 1603.A.1 cover?

  • General service
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Distribution
  • After-sales service
  • Research and design
  • Growth, manufacturing and production

Does NAFTA cover permanent residents?

No, NAFTA only covers citizens of US, Mexico and Canada, and does not have inclusion for permanent residents of the three countries.

Can NAFTA work permits help to immigrate to Canada?

No, you can only apply for NAFTA to temporarily enter Canada for business or investment purpose without any thought of becoming a Canadian permanent resident during your stay.

Can I use NAFTA to take on a permanent job position in Canada?

Of course, you can apply for NAFTA to work for a limited time in a permanent job position.


North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) work permits is surely a recommended program for citizens of USA and Mexico who want to temporarily work, trade or invest in Canada. You won’t need a Canadian work permit or visa in doing any of this inasmuch as you possess the citizenship status of US or Mexico.

Thanks for reading!