It is becoming increasingly common for recent Canadian graduates to look for employment in the United States. Depending on one’s circumstance, there are multiple different avenues for Canadian citizens to obtain work authorization in the US.

While most work authorization options for Canadian citizens require a US employer to file a petition on behalf your behalf, there are other options available. We have outlined the most common work permits for Canadian post-graduates:

TN Professional

There are various professional occupations under the USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement- formerly NAFTA) that allow Canadian Citizens to work in the United States. Professions such as Accountants, Architects, Engineers, Graphic Designers, Social Workers, Technical Publications Writers, Dentists, Pharmacists, Management Consultants, and Economists are just some out of 50+ professions that qualify as a TN Professional. You must have the relevant education and relevant job offer to qualify for this classification. Visas are valid for up to three years and can be renewed as required. As a Canadian Citizen, you can make the application directly at the land border crossing or airport upon entry to the United States. Importantly, a TN visa is a non-immigrant visa and work status may not provide a pathway to a US Green Card.

Intra-Company Transfer

After one year of service, individuals who have been working in Canada for a company that has qualifying operations in the United States may be eligible to obtain a work visa to transfer to operations in the United States. If you are in a managerial or specialized knowledge position, Canadian citizens may make an application at the Canadian/US Border or airport. For managerial positions, you can instantly be approved for three years and renew for up to an additional 4 years, totaling a maximum duration of 7 years. If you are in a specialized knowledge position, initial approval is for 3 years, with an option to renew for an additional 2 years.

H-1B Specialty Occupations

The H-1B is a specialty occupation visa that is chosen by a registration and lottery system. The application process is a collaboration between the sponsoring employer and beneficiary worker. The registration period opened on March 1, 2023, and closes on March 17, 2023. Last year, for FY 2023, USCIS received 483,927 H-1B registrations and selected 127,600 registrations projected as needed to reach the FY 2023 numerical allocations. This visa category is utilized to help US employers who cannot otherwise obtain needed business skills and abilities from the U.S. workforce by authorizing temporary employment of qualified individuals who are not otherwise authorized to work in the United States.

Should you have any further questions, or wish to discuss your specific circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact our office.


  • Jonathan Green

    Jonathan Green is an Associate Lawyer at Green and Spiegel LLP in Toronto.

  • Madison Kelly

    Madison Kelly is an Associate at Green and Spiegel LLP in Toronto. Madison assists clients with all aspects of immigration law in Canada and the United States.

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