Professionals under NAFTA

Ratified in 1992 by Canada, the United States and Mexico, NAFTA created, among other things, a new temporary work permits for designated NAFTA professionals.  In the U.S. this permit is known as the TN-1 permit while in Canada it is known as the NAFTA permit.

NAFTA Permits may be issued only to citizens of the Canada, the U.S. or Mexico who have received an offer of employment from any NAFTA member country in an occupation listed in Appendix 1603.D.1 to the NAFTA.  A summary of the current listing of professional occupations appears below.
NAFTA Permits are temporary, non-immigrant permits and are valid only in one (1) year increments. Most may be renewed without restriction provided that the underlying position remains “temporary” in nature. NAFTA Permits are employer and employment specific and may only be used for employment in the designated occupation and for the designated employer listed on the permit document itself.

Qualifying Occupations:

In order to qualify for a NAFTA Permit in any of the occupations listed in Appendix 1603.D.1 to the NAFTA, certain minimal educational requirements and/or alternative credentials must be met by the applicant. Alternative credentials may include a certified work experience or education credentials evaluation from a licensed evaluation service. For more information concerning the minimum educational or alternative credential requirements for NAFTA Permit eligibility, please contact us for a comprehensive review of your circumstances.


NAFTA Permits afford the holder the opportunity to live and work in any NAFTA member nation on a temporary basis. Alternatively, one may use a NAFTA Permit to commute to and from their employment while maintaining residence in their home country. Dependent family members (defined generally as spouse and minor children) may accompany the permit holder but are not authorized to accept employment without independently meeting the requirements to qualify for a Canadian work permit.

Processing Times and Procedure:

Certain documentary requirements are essential to the success of a NAFTA Permit application. In the case of Canadian citizens seeking to enter United States under NAFTA, a Canadian birth certificate and driver’s license, or valid Canadian passport must be produced for inspection, together with the applicant’s original university degree or college diploma, certificates, reference and offer of employment letter.  An application fee is required as well.

The U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) will process Canadian citizen NAFTA Permit applications at designated Ports of Entry / Border Crossings. INS adjudication typically will take place on the day of application. No appointment is required. Similarly, the Government of Canada facilitates processing for NAFTA Permits by U.S. citizens at designated Ports of Entry / Border Crossings on a same-day basis.  CIC/CBSA officers will accept and review applications submitted at a Port of Entry if duly constituted and where all documents and submissions are in order.

Our Service

We have prepared countless NAFTA Permit applications for virtually every occupation listed in the Appendix. The key to a successful application lies in the legal analysis of the circumstances, the nature of the position offered, and the proper drafting of an offer of employment letter which must conform to strict Immigration regulations.  Specifically, our NAFTA Permit application services include the following:

  1. Analysis of applicant’s educational and employment experience;
  2. NAFTA occupation eligibility review;
  3. Counseling the prospective employer to prepare a suitable offer of employment letter;
  4. Preparation of draft reference letters;
  5. Counsel the applicant on application procedure and preparation of standard line of questioning;
  6. Conduct inadmissibility screening of applicant to ensure viability of application;
  7. Counsel applicant on long-term immigration strategies.

Appendix 1603D.1 to NAFTA (Occupation List)

Professionals: Medical Professionals: Scientists
Accountant Dentist Agriculturist
Architect Dietician Animal Breeder
College Teacher Medical Laboratory Technologist Animal Scientist
Computer Systems Analist Nutritionist Apiculturist
Disaster Relief Insurance Adjuster Occupational Therapist Astronomer
Economist Pharmacist Biochemist
Engineer Physician Biologist
Forester Physiotherapist Chemist
Graphic Designer Psychologist Dairy Scientist
Hotel Manager Recreational Therapist Entomologist
Industrial Designer Registered Nurse Epidemiologist
Interior Designer Veterinarian Geneticist
Land Surveyor   Geologist
Lawyer(including Quebec Notary)   Geophysicist
Librarian   Horticulturalist
Management Consultant   Meteorologist
Mathematician / Statistician   Physicist
Range Manager / Conservationist   Plant Breeder
Research Assistant(post-secondary)   Poultry Scientist
Scientific Technician / Technologist   Soil Scientist
Seminary Teacher   Zoologist
Social Worker    
Technical Publication Writer    
University Teacher    
Urban Planner / Geographer    
Vocational Counselor