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Work Permit Exemptions

LMIA-Exempt and Other Work Permit Exemptions

Professionals who want to enter Canada may not need a work permit or LMIA if they qualify as a Professional under the NAFTA Business Visitor After Sales Service category R186(a) for Work Permit Exemptions.

If you need to enter Canada temporarily to provide pre-arranged professional services as a salaried employee of a Canadian company or are contracted by a Canadian employer in one of over 60 occupations covered by NAFTA you can enter Canada as a cross border business professional.

Temporary Business Visitors to Canada such as highly specialized after-sales and service employees are often qualified to enter Canada without a Work Permit for cross border business and authorized to work under the NAFTA trade agreement. Few people know about this special business visitor visa. While NAFTA 2.0 has not yet been ratified, we don’t expect this provision to change.

How To Enter Canada under NAFTA R186(a)

Business Visitors who want to enter Canada for after-sales or service work can apply at the airport to a Canada Border Agent. They will need to provide verification of their Business Visitor application including:

  • letters of support from the business visitor's parent company
  • a letter of invitation from the Canadian host business
  • a verbal statement that the business of the applicant and their source of income is outside Canada
  • supporting documentation such as business cards, business papers, advertising pamphlets

The NAFTA Business Visitor After Sales Service category provision applies to service people who want to enter Canada for after-sales and lease services including software upgrades to previously sold or leased equipment. A service person coming to Canada to install, configure or give training on upgraded software may be considered a Business Visitor. A sales or lease agreement or purchase order for upgraded software is considered a new contract for a new product.

A Business Immigration Lawyer can help you determine if your job meets the requirements for NAFTA R186 (a) entry to Canada without a work permit, and assemble the documentation to present to the Border Agent.

Supervisors and Trainers R187: Training and Installation Activities

Individuals can enter Canada with a work permit exemption to provide familiarization or training services to prospective users or staff after the installation of specialized equipment purchased or leased outside Canada.

A Business Immigration Lawyer can help you determine if your job meets the requirements for NAFTA R187(2)(b) entry to Canada without a work permit, and help you to assemble the documentation to present to the Border Agent.

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You are one of the most professional people I have had the pleasure of working with and I hold you in the highest regard.

– Peter Lyons, Business Manager

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