CUSMA work permit

The CUSMA work permit

formerly known as the NAFTA work permit, is a type of work permit that allows citizens of Canada, the United States, and Mexico to work in each other’s countries without the need for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The CUSMA agreement, which stands for the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, replaced the previous North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 2020.

Under the CUSMA agreement, certain professions are eligible for the work permit, provided that the worker meets the educational, experience, and licensing requirements for that profession. The eligible professions are divided into two categories: Professionals and Technicians/Technologists.

Professionals are individuals who have a degree or professional credentials in one of the designated professions, which includes fields such as engineering, science, and accounting. Technicians/Technologists are individuals who have a two-year post-secondary diploma or certificate in a related field, such as computer programming or hotel management.

To apply for a CUSMA work permit, you will need to provide proof that you meet the education and experience requirements for your profession, as well as a job offer from a Canadian employer in your field. You may also need to provide documentation such as a diploma or transcript, a letter from your employer, and proof of your citizenship.

If you are a citizen of the United States or Mexico and meet the eligibility requirements for the CUSMA work permit, you can apply at a Canadian port of entry or at a Canadian visa office. If you are a citizen of Canada and want to work in the United States or Mexico under the CUSMA agreement, you will need to follow the specific procedures for obtaining a work permit in those countries.


Work Permits under the provisions of CUSMA do not usually require a Canadian labour market test, known as the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

Although LMIA-exempt, workers and employers who use the CUSMA program must comply with all provisions governing temporary work in Canada.

Because American and Mexican citizens do not require a Temporary Resident Visa to enter Canada, applications for a CUSMA Work Permit may be done at a Port of Entry (such as a border crossing or airport), or at a Visa office, either online or by paper.

There are various categories of temporary work covered under CUSMA:

1.CUSMA Professionals

2.CUSMA Intra-Company Transfers

3.CUSMA Traders

4.CUSMA Investors


1.CUSMA Professionals

 CUSMA Professional must be qualified to work in one of approximately 60 targeted professions. Depending on his or her profession, an applicant may be required to provide educational credentials and/or proof of work experience in the field.

CUSMA Professionals must have pre-arranged employment in Canada in an occupation that matches their qualifications. Individuals who wish to perform self-employed work in Canada are not eligible for this category.

2.CUSMA Intra-Company Transfers

CUSMA Intra-Company Transferees must be transferred to Canada on a temporary basis in order to work for a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of their US or Mexican employer. In addition, they must have worked continuously for their US or Mexican employer for at least one of the last three years in a similar position to the work being done in Canada, and be employed by the company at the time of application.

A CUSMA Intra-Company Transferee must work in a capacity that is considered managerial, executive, or involving specialized knowledge. For general information on intra-company transferees, including those covered under CUSMA.

3. CUSMA Traders
A CUSMA Trader must demonstrate an intention to carry out substantial trade of goods or services between Canada and his or her country of citizenship, be it the US or Mexico. “Substantial trade” is when more than 50 percent of the trade is done between Canada and one of these countries, based on either the volume or the value traded.

The employing company must also be of either American or Mexican nationality. It is important to note that an existing trade relationship must already exist between the foreign company and Canada, and that the Trader cannot enter for the purpose of establishing trading contracts or clients. In fact, the Trader must be employed as a supervisor or executive, or have duties that involve essential skills.

4. CUSMA Investors
A CUSMA Investor must demonstrate that he or she has made a substantial investment in a new or existing Canadian business and that he or she is seeking entry to Canada to develop and direct the Canadian business. Work permits in the CUSMA Investor category may also be granted to employees of the primary Investor who can be considered essential staff.


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