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NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT

Under Chapter 16 of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), citizens of Canada, the United States and Mexico can gain quicker, easier temporary entry into the three countries to conduct business-related activities or investments. All provisions are equally available to citizens of the three countries.

The North American Free Trade Agreement divides business persons into four categories, as defined below:

BUSINESS VISITOR

A business visitor must be entering Canada to take part in an activity listed in Appendix 1603.A.1 of Chapter 16 of NAFTA. These activities include technical or scientific research, a convention or trade fair, negotiation of sales -- but not delivery -- of goods and services, and after-sales service. They cannot be seeking to join the domestic labour market. An employment authorization is not required by individuals in this category.

PROFESSIONAL

To be eligible to enter as a professional, the individual must be qualified to work in Canada in an occupation or profession listed in Appendix 1603.D.1 Chapter 16 of NAFTA. This includes, for example, accountants, computer systems analysts, engineers, management consultants and technical writers. An employment authorization is required.

INTRA-COMPANY TRANSFEREE

An intra-company transferee must have worked for at least one year in the preceding three-year period for a U.S. or Mexican employer and be transferred to Canada to work temporarily for the same or an affiliated employer. Only persons at the executive or managerial level, or who have specialized knowledge, qualify in this category. An employment authorization is required.

TRADER OR INVESTOR

This category may be used by business persons or companies in the U.S. or Mexico that own or have a controlling interest in a company or other business enterprise to be, or already is, established in Canada. Substantial trade or investment must be involved. The range of entrepreneurial activity is potentially unlimited. An employment authorization is required.

All business persons covered by the North American Free Trade Agreement are exempt from validation from a Human Resource Centre. This means that Canadian employers do not need to have a job offer approved by a Human Resource Centre to employ a U.S. or Mexican business person.

This is the only category under NAFTA requiring applicants to obtain status before seeking entry into Canada.

Citizens and permanent residents of either country who cannot qualify for entry under NAFTA will still be considered under the universal provisions covering temporary foreign workers.

For more information, obtain the booklet Temporary Entry to Canada under the NAFTA -- A Guide for American and Mexican Business Persons by mailing or faxing your request to:

Public Affairs Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Journal Tower South, 19th Floor
365 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1
Telephone (613) 954-9019
Fax (613) 954-2221

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