NAFTA Exemption

Citizens of the US and Mexico whose occupations are found on the list of Professionals in Appendix 1603.D.1 of  the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) may apply to enter Canada as a Business Visitor. This exemption allows business professionals to qualify for a temporary work permit without first obtaining a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) from Service Canada as part of the International Mobility Program. Under NAFTA, the initial work permit for a professional could be issued for a duration of up to 3 years. Extensions may be granted, however IRCC must be satisfied that the employment is still “temporary”.  Note that the longer the duration of a temporary stay, the greater the onus will be on the individual to satisfy Immigration Officials of temporary intent, especially when requesting an extension of status.

Before a foreign national can enter Canada on an LMIA exemption, the employer must provide him or her with an offer letter, pay a $230 compliance fee and provide Offer of Employment details to Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada (IRCC). There are pros and cons for opting to bring a tenure stream appointee in under the NAFTA exemption.  Please contact a Faculty Relations Assistant Manager to discuss.

Details on immigration process are found on our Immigration Process for Foreign Academics page.

If you have any questions about the above process, please contact Faculty Relations at

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