4 ways to move to Canada under CUSMA

Shelby Thevenot
Published: October 10, 2020

Eligible U.S. and Mexican citizens can skip some of the red tape to come work or conduct business in Canada.

The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) allows workers, traders, and investors to come to Canada without going through the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process. Before July 1, 2020, CUSMA was known as the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

CUSMA work permit applicants who are arriving directly from the U.S. can apply at a port of entry, unless they are CUSMA Investors.

There are four types of CUSMA categories in total:

Each category has its own unique eligibility requirements.

Contact Attorney Daniel Levy of the Campbell Cohen Law Firm for a Free Consultation on CUSMA Permits

CUSMA Professionals

CUSMA Professionals need to have a pre-arranged job offer, or a contract in Canada in one of the targeted professions. There are 63 eligible occupations in the fields of medicine, education, science and others.

Depending on the profession, applicants need to provide educational credentials and proof of work experience in their field. It is not for people who want to do self-employed work in Canada.

Canada also allows CUSMA Professionals to come as business visitors, as long as they are not entering the labour market, but soliciting business, consulting, providing advice and meeting clients.

Work permits can be given for up to three years at a time. They can then be extended for up to three years for an unlimited number of times, provided professionals comply with all requirements.  However,  immigration officers must be satisfied that the employment is still temporary, and that the applicant is not using CUSMA entry to circumvent normal immigration procedures.

CUSMA Intra-Company Transfers

U.S. or Mexican workers who are transferring to a Canadian branch of their company may be eligible for a CUSMA Intra-Company Transfer.

The transfer must be for temporary work in Canada. Eligible candidates need to have previously worked for their U.S. or Mexican employer for at least one of the last three years in a position similar to the one they are taking in Canada. They must be employed by the company at the time of the application.

Their position must be managerial, executive, or involving specialized knowledge.

CUSMA Traders

CUSMA Traders must be coming to Canada to carry out a substantial trade of goods or services between Canada and the U.S. or Mexico. Canada considers it a "substantial trade" when more than 50 per cent of the trade is done between Canada and one of the other CUSMA countries. The 50 per cent can be comprised of either the volume or the value of the trade.

CUSMA Investors

CUSMA Investors must make a substantial investment in a new or existing Canadian business, and that they are coming to Canada to develop and direct the business. Work permits in the CUSMA Investor category may also be granted to the essential staff of the company.

Coming to Canada through CUSMA with travel restrictions in place

Their job offer must be at a business or organization that is still operating, the Canadian Border Services Agency told CIC News. People who are applying for the CUSMA work permit from any other country have to make an application for a permit and receive authorization to travel from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. Otherwise, these people will not be permitted to travel, and not be able to apply for the CUSMA work permit at a port of entry.

In addition, all foreign nationals who want to come to Canada for work have to be travelling for an essential reason. CUSMA Professionals and Intra-Company Transferees working in critical infrastructure will continue to be permitted to enter, and may be exempt from mandatory quarantine if they do not have symptoms of coronavirus.

Contact Attorney Daniel Levy of the Campbell Cohen Law Firm for a Free Consultation on CUSMA Permits

© 2020 CIC News All Rights Reserved

Share this article
Share your voice
Did you find this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Did you find this article helpful?
Please provide a response
Thank you for your helpful feedback
Please contact us if you would like to share additional feedback, have a question, or would like Canadian immigration assistance.
  • Do you need Canadian immigration assistance? Contact the Contact Cohen Immigration Law firm by completing our form
  • Send us your feedback or your non-legal assistance questions by emailing us at media@canadavisa.com
Related articles
How to be considered for jobs in Canada while still in the Express Entry pool
A person having an online interview with a recruiter
What should I do if I want to extend my expiring work permit but do not have my new LMIA or CAQ yet? 
male entrepreneurs using cell phone while walking in lobby at office building
How IRCC checks if your offer of employment is genuine
Two people sitting at a table and shaking hands with each other.
How can I improve the chances that the processing of my application is not delayed?
Happy female traveler waiting for the flight in the airport
Top Stories
Canada announces measures to help individuals impacted by the ongoing crises in Haiti
British Columbia and Manitoba issue provincial nominations in latest PNP results
Canada’s immigration minister proposes new legislation for Canadian citizenship by descent
Join our free newsletter. Get Canada's top immigration stories delivered to your inbox.
More in Citizenship
Canada’s immigration minister proposes new legislation for Canadian citizenship by descent
Immigration Minister Marc Miller has introduced legislation to update Canada's citizenship laws.
Canada celebrates Citizenship Week 2024
Canada is marking its annual citizenship week.
Canada processing proof of citizenship applications faster than pre-pandemic standards
A father and son at a Canada day parade, surrounded by Canadian flags
Study: Fewer recent immigrants are seeking Canadian citizenship
Young family with children having fun in nature on a picnic
Link copied to clipboard