No. To work in the United States, Canadian citizens will first have to obtain a work visa. Have it in mind that almost everyone who wants to work in the United States will need to apply for a work visa, however, Canadian citizens have more advantages than other foreign nationals.

To work in the United States, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident is expected to first have a job offer from a USA employer who will then be tasked with sponsoring them for a work visa. For Canadians working in the US, there are specific US visas to take into consideration.

Each visa available to Canadian citizens looking to work in the United States covers a different category of workers and also features its criteria for eligibility. As a Canadian citizen eager to work in the U.S., have it in mind that the exact visa you choose to apply for will depend on your type of employment, your credentials, the length of time you intend to reside in the U.S., among other factors.

Types of US Work Visas Available to Canadian Citizens

Just as was noted above, there are numerous categories of USA work visas available for Canadian citizens eager to work in the United States. Their options include:

  1. TN Visa

The TN nonimmigrant visa is renowned as one of the fastest ways to obtain a U.S. work visa as a Canadian citizen. If you are a Canadian citizen and you have a job offer in the US, you may qualify for a TN Visa under the NAFTA agreement. The NAFTA program was developed primarily to initiate and guarantee special economic and trade relationships between the United States and its North American neighbors, Mexico and Canada.

Note that TN nonimmigrant status is only available to citizens of these two countries under the NAFTA agreement, and it offers them the permit to work in the United States in prearranged business activities as NAFTA professionals. TN-1 visas are for Canadians while TN-2 visas are for Mexicans, and it boasts of minimum eligibility requirements under the NAFTA arrangement.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for a TN visa, applicants are expected to:

  • Be a Canadian citizen
  • Be employed in a field that is on the NAFTA list of approved professions
  • Be employed in a position that can only be fulfilled by a NAFTA professional
  • Be employed in a prearranged position for an employer in the U.S. whether full-time or part-time; self-employment is not allowed
  • Obtain and can show all the necessary qualifications and work experience for the position
  1. H-1B Visa

This is another very popular and promising U.S. work visa and is available to individuals with at least a Bachelor’s degree who are looking to find employment in a specialty occupation. Specialty occupations are renowned as occupations in specialty fields such as architecture, finance, science, technology, math, and engineering.

The H-1B visa for Canadians working in the US comes with a lot of benefits. Also, note that there is a quota limit of 65,000 H-1B visas issued in a fiscal year for regular applicants and an extra cap of 20,000 for applicants with an advanced degree. Have it in mind that this work visa is considered to be dual intent, allowing beneficiaries to apply for a green card upon arrival without impeding their status.

Eligibility Requirements

Canadian citizens looking to get the H-1B visa are expected to:

  • Have a job offer from a U.S. employer who will petition the visa on their behalf
  • Be adequately qualified to work in a specialty occupation and seeking to enter the U.S. to work in the same capacity
  • Posses at least a bachelor’s degree, though their chances are far increased if they have an advanced degree.
  1. L-1 Intracompany Transferee Visa

According to experts, Canadian workers who are employed by Canadian companies but are being transferred to United States offices could be properly suited for an L-1 visa.

This visa helps to hasten the temporary transfer of foreign employees of a multinational company to work in the United States at a branch or affiliate of the same company. Have in mind that it is only available to employees who work in a managerial or executive capacity (L-1A visa), or those who work in a specialized knowledge capacity (L-1B visa).

Eligibility Requirements

There are very rigid requirements and conditions for those eager to petition for the L-1 visa. To qualify the applicant is expected to:

  • Have worked with a multinational company outside the U.S. for at least one full year in the last three years before the L-1 petition
  • Worked or still working in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity and will be coming into the U.S. to work in the same capacity
  • Be prepared to leave the United States upon completion of their maximum allowed duration of stay.

To qualify, the company making the L-1 petition is expected to meet the following conditions:

  • Show a valid relationship with the U.S. company either as a parent company, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate
  • Must be doing business presently as an employer in the U.S. and at least one other country for as long as the candidate will stay in the U.S. on L-1 status. 
  1. O-1 Visa

The O-1 nonimmigrant visa is primarily for individuals with extraordinary skills in sciences, arts, business, education, or athletics. Note that this visa program falls under the O-1A visa category. Also, note that anyone who has exhibited considerable achievements in the motion picture industry and has gained national or international recognition for those achievements may also apply for O-1 status under the O-1B visa category.

Ideally, you can stay for an initial stay period of three years with this visa. You can also apply for one-year increments or extensions if need be, as long as the employer can show substantial proof that the O-1 visa holder’s services are still needed in the country. Have in mind there is no limit to the number of extensions permitted as long as the company can show a need for it.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for this visa, you will be expected to show substantial proof that you have an extraordinary ability in any of the required fields by way of sustained national or international recognition.

You will also have to show that you are coming into the U.S. to continue working in that same area of extraordinary ability. For this work visa, note that international recognition is very notable, and coveted awards like the Pulitzer Prize or Olympic medal, a Grammy, Oscar, or  Emmy Awards can help.

  1. E-2 Investor Visa

This is another top visa option to consider if you are looking to work in the US by starting or investing in a US business. While not all countries are eligible, business owners and investors who are also Canadian citizens may qualify as long as they meet the necessary criteria. Employees coupled with spouses and children of the principal visa holder can also qualify for a visa.

Also have it in mind that employees of E-2 companies may be granted E-2 visas as long as they are working in a managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge capacity. If employed in a minor capacity, the employee can qualify for an E-2 visa as long as he or she boasts of the special qualifications required to make the services to be rendered critical to the business.

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for the E-2 Visa as an investor, you are expected to:

  • Confirm that a “substantial” investment or funds is available and committed to the investment
  • The investment will have to be for an active business as against dormant investment such as purchasing a home;
  • At least 50% of the business will have to be owned by a foreigner from a country that has a treaty with the united states
  • The investment is expected to create enough profit to cater to the living expenses of the applicant and his/her family.


Note that obtaining a work visa in the U.S. is easier for Canadians than almost any other nationality, and Canadian citizens have assorted options to pick from. Always remember that each of these visas has its specific application requirements.

Therefore, you must understand the exact visa that is suitable for you, and that you can also meet the requirements. Also, remember that a criminal record will prevent you from entering the USA or obtaining a work visa in the country.