A Definitive Guide for Canadian Working in the US

Explore our comprehensive guide designed for Canadians working in the US, providing essential information and tips for navigating employment and residency requirements.

Canadian working in the US

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Moving to the US can feel overwhelming, filled with unknowns and uncertainties. HomeAbroad editorial team includes certified immigration experts/USCIS nerds who translate complex legalese into clear, actionable moving and visa guides. Rest assured, every article undergoes a reader-centric editorial process to ensure accuracy and reflect current regulations.

Canadians often migrate to the U.S. to explore better work opportunities. According to a report, the U.S. homes around 800,000 Canadians, and the number is likely to rise over the coming years.

So if you are a Canadian citizen wishing to cross the 49th parallel for a better livelihood and an affordable lifestyle, then all you need to do is grab a coffee and read through.

This thoughtfully compiled guide will help you understand the various aspects of a Canadian working in the US. So, let’s begin with the foremost question.

Can Canadian Citizens Work in the United States?

The answer is yes! Canadians can work in the U.S., just like other foreign nationals. However, a Canadian looking for employment opportunities in the U.S. has to fulfill specific criteria set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS stipulates that Canadians must obtain either an immigrant or a nonimmigrant visa based on the professional occupation that best suits their specialty occupation. Also, the Visa has to be sponsored by a US-based employer. As a Canadian citizen, you have a few more work visa categories than other foreign nationals who wish to work in the U.S.

What Visas do Canadian Citizens Need to Work in the US?

As a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, if you wish to work in the USA, it is mandatory that you first have a job offer from a USA employer who will sponsor you for a work visa. Following are the visa category that Canadian workers are eligible to work under:

1.H-1B Visa (Temporary Work)

2. T.N. Visa (NAFTA Professionals)

3.L-1 (Employee Transfer)

4.O-1 (Extra Ordinary Skills)

H-1B Visa

  • H1B Visa is meant for those with specialized knowledge and expertise in a particular field, such as engineering and science, or other specialty occupations like accountants and architects.
  • The employer must have also issued an offer letter of employment to you specifying the job designation and duties assigned.
  • It is usually issued for three years but is extendable to up to 6 years.

T.N. Visa

  • This Visa is exclusively meant for Canadian and Mexican professionals who seek to enter the U.S. under the NAFTA Agreement ( North American Free Trade). T.N. visas are only offered to Canadian citizens and Mexican citizens in certain professions like Accountants, Engineers, Lawyers, etc. T.N. nonimmigrant status is granted for a period of up to three years and is renewable indefinitely.
  • The nonimmigrant NAFTA Professional (TN) visa allows the citizens of Canada and Mexico as to work in the US in prearranged business activities for U.S. or foreign employers under the T.N. status.
  • Also, the spouses and children of a T.N. visa holder can move with him/her to the U.S. by getting a T.D. visa. T.D. nonimmigrant status is valid for the duration of the parent’s stay in the U.S. or three years. Upon expiry, it can be renewed for another three years.

To learn more about the Nafta work Categories, visit, Appendix 1603.D.1 of Annex 1603 of NAFTA. 

L-1 Visa

  • This Visa is for employees working outside the U.S. in a branch of the same company wishing to shift to a U.S. subsidiary. It also entitles you to bring your family along with you while working in the U.S.
  • To qualify for this Visa, Canadian citizens must be employed in foreign as an executive, manager, or as someone with specialized knowledge capacity for a minimum period of one year during the past three years to be eligible for a transfer to a qualifying USA entity.
  • Under certain circumstances, a foreign company may be allowed to transfer a qualifying employee to the USA to open a new office. In such cases, it is important to provide evidence of the new office space, such as photos. It is also important to prove that the office space will sustain an executive or managerial position within one year of approval.
  • Canadian citizens can apply for L status at a pre-clearance unit or at the port of entry into the USA.
  • L-1 visas are issued for a maximum initial period of three years. One year in case of new office space.

O-1 Visa

  • If you possess extraordinary ability in sciences, arts, education, or business that is recognized nationally or internationally, you can apply for this Visa.
  • A Canadian citizen who might have received the noble prize, Academy award, or any recognized award or distinction can apply for this Visa.
  • It is usually issued for a period of 1-3 years.
  • Individuals who wish to pursue self-employment may seek help from a USA agent who can file the petition as an employer. In such scenarios, certain documentation is required, such as a contractual agreement, authorization to act as an agent, and a detailed itinerary.

Once you have obtained your Visa, you would need to get your Social Security Number (SSN) along with other documents. Like a driver’s license and birth certificate to work legally in the USA. It is also important to understand the tax structure and other regulations involved when working in the U.S.

Documents Required by Canadian Citizens to Work in the USA

Applying for the right Visa would require you to meet minimal eligibility requirements, and collecting all the relevant for filing it to USCIS will be your next step.

• Valid Canadian Passport: All applicants must provide a valid passport with their visa application.

• Photographs: Two recent photographs according to the format prescribed by USCIS.

• I-129 Form: Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker

Requirement for H1B Visa

• Certificates related to educational qualifications and work experience. (Bachelor’s Degree or Advanced Degree)

  • Labour Condition Application (L.C.A.) to the Department of Labor (D.O.L.).
  • H1-B Visa Petition can only be filed by your prospective U.S. employer.

• Curriculum Vitae/ Resume

• Job Offer letter from a prospective employer

Requirement For L-1 Visa

• Documentation proving the employer’s relationship with a foreign national.

• Evidence that the position qualifies as an L-1 visa classification (such as job description and duties)

• Work permit from U.S. Employer

Requirement For O-1 Visa

• Evidence of extraordinary ability or achievement such as diploma, awards, and media reviews.

• Credential evaluations of any foreign educational or professional degrees

• Job Offer letter from U.S. Employer

Requirement For TN Visa

• Letter from employer specifying the purpose of travel and job duties

• Evidence that the position qualifies for a Nafta professional and it is in accordance with the NAFTA agreement. (such as job description and duties)

• Job Offer letter from U.S. Employer

Now that you have a clear picture of how to procure a Visa and what documents are required for each type. Let’s look at the job options available to Canadians in the USA. It is essential to research the requirements of the job you are aspiring to pursue in America. It will help you understand the work culture and gauge prospects.

Job Options for Canadian Working in the US

The Land of Opportunities provides endless options to anyone with the right credentials and skill set. You may be a science or engineering graduate or profess in other professions like being a nurse, pilot, or academician. You can rest assured that there is a promising career for every stream. Here are some of the most popular job options for Canadians who wish to work in the U.S.

  • Technology Jobs: The USA is the world leader in technological advancement, which demands highly skilled professionals in programming, analytics, and other related fields.
  • Finance & Banking: From Asset Managers to Financial Analysts, the American banking industry is on the rise and seeks professionals who can take it to the next level.
  • Hospitality: The hospitality sector in America is booming, and it offers a variety of high-paying jobs in hotel management, bartending, catering, etc.
  • Medicine: The USA is always looking for qualified medical professionals, including doctors and nurses.
  • Aviation: Working as a pilot or an air traffic controller in the U.S. is a lucrative career option.
  • Teaching: America’s education system is always looking for innovative and qualified teachers who can help students succeed.
  • Arts & Entertainment: If you possess the talent to be an actor, musician, or comedian, this could be your dream job!

As you aspire to work in a foreign land, you must know about the tax system and policies of Canada and the US too. It will help avoid any taxation lapses and associated troubles.

Taxes for Canadians Working in the US

Canada has a tax treaty with the United States that helps to reduce the double taxation of income earned in the U.S. by Canadians. Generally, if you are a Canadian citizen working in the U.S. You are required to report your income from both countries on your Canadian tax return. You may also be subject to taxes in both Canada and the United States. For U.S. tax reporting, your U.S. employer will provide you with a W-2 form at the end of the year.

Once you start working in the USA, you can expand your wealth like fellow Canadians and also save it. Canadians rate investing in U.S. real estate as the most rewarding way of expanding the real estate portfolio and saving on taxation, as the U.S. provides several tax benefits to make homeownership affordable.

Statistics indicate that Canadians often encash on the home loan tax benefits, lower housing rates, and ease of obtaining a mortgage while working in the USA. According to the statists, 11,300 Canadian have bought homes this year, and the numbers are likely to rise. So if you are a Canadian citizen working in the U.S., it will be wise to invest in U.S. real estate, earn passive income, great returns, and save on some tax too.

Buying Property as a Canadian Working in the U.S

The average cost of a home in Canada is CAD686,650, equivalent to USD550,723. According to real estate websites, the Canadian national average home price is far above that of the US, which is USD 308,220. These statistics make a fair case for Canadian citizens working in the USA and willing to buy a house or investment property here. However, to buy a property in the USA, Canadian citizens must follow the given steps:

Get A Social Security Number: Canadian citizens interested in buying property will need to get a Social Security Number (SSN)

Get A Credit Report: The next step is to establish credit. This can be done by getting a US-based credit card or applying for a loan with a US-based lender. HomeAbroad can help you procure a mortgage with no US credit.

Research Local Real Estate Market: One of the most important steps when buying property is researching the local real estate market. This includes looking into available properties, average sale prices, and rental rates. You can either look for it yourself or hire a CIPS agent.

Get A Real Estate Agent: It’s wise to get a real estate agent who is familiar with the area and can help guide you through the process.

Find A Mortgage Lender: Finding a suitable mortgage lender who is willing to lend money to a non-resident is the next step.

Helpful Read: Ultimate Guide for Canadian Citizens to Get U.S. Mortgages

Make An Offer On The Property: Once you have found the right property and secured financing, you can make an offer.

Closing On The Property: The closing process is the final step in buying a property and involves signing all the legal documents, transferring funds, and getting the keys to your new home.

By following these steps, Canadians working in the U.S. can purchase a home and invest in real estate. With careful planning and research, Canadian citizens can take advantage of affordable housing prices and maximize their wealth. Here is a complete guide for Canadians who wants to buy a house in the US: The ultimate guide for a Canadian buying house in USA

The greatest wealth is one’s health. Change of weather and associated challenges of relocating to a new country can pose a challenge to your health. Therefore, the first thing you should procure after coming to the USA is health insurance.

Health Insurance for Canadians Working in the US

Health insurance is an important part of any financial plan, especially if you’re working in the USA. The U.S. has a different healthcare system, and it’s important to make sure that your medical needs are taken care of. 

Fortunately, several health insurance options are available to Canadians working in the U.S. You can purchase a COBRA plan or an Individual Health Insurance Plan (I.H.I.), both of which provide comprehensive coverage. These plans typically have high deductibles, but they offer comprehensive coverage and access to quality medical care.

Taking care of your retirement is as important as having a career. So let’s look at how a Canadian working in the U.S. can benefit from a U.S. retirement plan.

401K for Canadians Working in the US

Canadians employed in the United States can take advantage of the 401k plan, one of the most popular retirement plans. This tax-deferred retirement plan allows participants to contribute pre-tax money from their salary into an account, which is then invested and grows with time.

The 401k has a lot of advantages for Canadians working in the U.S. Not only does it offer tax deferral, but it also provides flexibility in investment options, employer contributions, and withdrawal options.


With careful planning, Canadians working in the U.S. can make their experience smooth and successful. However, make sure you have done your homework before moving to the USA from Canada. Here is a must-check guide for Canadians moving to the USA.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What documents do Canadian citizens need to work in the United States?

Canadian citizens must obtain a valid passport and other required working documents, such as a U.S. visa and a work permit sponsored by the U.S. employer, to work legally in the United States.

Q. Can a Canadian citizen buy property in the United States?

Yes, Canadian citizens can buy property in the United States. However, they need to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) and establish credit before purchasing the property. They also need to research the local real estate market, get a real estate agent, find a mortgage lender and make an offer on their desired property.

Q. Can I legally work in the U.S. as a Canadian?

Yes, Canadians can legally work in the U.S. if they have obtained a valid passport and other required documents, such as a U.S. visa and a work permit sponsored by the U.S. employer.

Q. Do I have to pay Canadian taxes if I work in the U.S.?

A. According to the C.R.A., if you work and live outside of Canada for more than 183 days per year, you will be considered a non-resident of Canada for tax purposes. As a non-resident Canadian citizen, you will be required to pay taxes only on the income you generate, specifically from Canadian resources.

About the author:
Debjit Saha is the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of HomeAbroad. With a passion for technology and a deep understanding of US immigration laws, he strives to empower individuals in their journey to the United States. He is also a Certified Immigration Expert.

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