How Can a United States Citizen Get a Visa to Work in Canada?

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Citizens of the United States must acquire a Canadian work permit to accept employment in Canada. However, in comparison to nationals of other foreign countries, United States citizens have a relatively quick and easy process to obtain employment authorization. For example, citizens of the United States are not required to obtain a temporary residence visa to enter Canada, which saves time and money.

Work Permit Requirement

Not all occupations within Canada require work permits. For example, members of the clergy, emergency medical services, judges and athletes are just a handful of professionals who can work in Canada without first acquiring a permit. To determine if your line of work waives the work permit requirement, you should consult the Citizenship and Immigration Canada for a published list.

Employment Offer

Prior to securing a work permit in Canada, you must first have an offer of employment from a Canadian-based company. In addition to a written letter from your employer, you must also provide evidence that proves your qualifications for the job. For example, if a company in Toronto wants to hire you as an electrical engineer, you must provide the educational or professional documents that support your qualifications.

Work Permit Application

The work permit application is rather brief by immigration standards. It is two pages long and written in both French and English; the two official languages of Canada. There is also a separate form if you chose to submit your work permit application with the help of an immigration lawyer. The contents of the work permit application are straightforward and address personal background, employment information and previous immigration history to Canada.

Filing of Application

Work permit applications are filed on a regional basis. If already in Canada, there are three CIC offices that accept most applications: Vegreville, Mississauga and Sydney. In the United States, there are six offices: Buffalo, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Processing times for applications vary based on application center, however the general time frame for applicants from the United States is one to two months. The CIC encourages applicants to contact the appropriate processing office if the normal processing time has passed without adjudication. Processing times are posted on the CIC website.