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FAQs: As An American, Do I Need a Work Visa to Freelance in Canada?

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Canada Work Permits, Intra-Company Job Transfers, Temporary Foreign Worker Program and Temporary Foreign Workers

FAQs: As An American, Do I Need a Work Visa to Freelance in Canada?


My husband will be taking an intra-company job transfer to Canada. We're Americans, and I am a freelance writer. Will I need a work visa to continue to freelance in Canada for my U.S. clients?

Congratulations on your upcoming move to Canada! The shared border and common language and cultures of Canada and the United States offer many opportunities for Americans to work as expats in Canada. An intra-company job transfer is for an employee who is currently working for a company and that company wants to move the employee temporarily to a different country while they continue to work for the same company. An intra-company transferee from the United States will require a temporary Work Permit to work in Canada.

Expat spouses who are remote workers, freelancers or self-employed also have opportunities to work and live in Canada.

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Freelance in Canada: Work Permits for an Expat Spouse

The spouse of an expat on an intra-company job transfer will not qualify for a spousal visa because they are not permanently moving to Canada, and their spouse is not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Instead, your husband's temporary work permit application can include a spousal temporary work permit and you would be classified as self-employed.

I recommend you and your husband talk to both a Canadian immigration lawyer and an expat tax advisor. If your husband is coming to Canada on a job transfer, his company has probably already hired an immigration lawyer to manage the application process.

Canadian Taxes
If you are living and working in Canada, and not a business visitor, you will have to pay Canadian taxes. Crossborder tax issues for freelancers working in Canada depend on many factors:

  • Do you plan to expand your business to include Canadian clients?
  • Will you have a Canadian bank account?
  • Do you live full-time or part-time in Canada?
  • How long will you live in Canada?

An experienced expat tax advisor can help you determine:

  • which Canadian taxes you are required to pay
  • the tax deductions you have as an expat
  • your foreign tax credits so that you are not paying double taxes to Canada and the U.S.

Taxes for Expats: CrossBorder Canadians and Americans

There are different opportunities possible for freelance, self-employed expat spouses to work in Canada. It's important to consult an experienced immigration lawyer and tax advisor to make sure that you are in compliance with all Canadian immigration laws, and that you and your husband's company do not have compliance issues and penalties.

Are You An Expat Spouse Who Wants to Work in Canada?

American expat spouses who want to work in Canada have many questions about work permits, taxes and immigration laws. U.S. citizens can stay in Canada for up to six months on their passport, but if you are an American who wants to live and work in Canada, you should consult an experienced immigration lawyer who can smooth your way to new opportunities in Canada, troubleshoot any potential problems - and save you time and stress.

Contact the immigration legal team at Ackah Law to cross borders seamlessly: (403) 452‑9515.


Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

Founder/Managing Lawyer

Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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Ackah Law has been an integral supporter of Vin Room. I appreciate the cost effective solutions that Ackah Law identified for our human resource needs and expertise in navigating the immigration process to bring in the right staff for our growing business.

We look forward to a continued relationship with Ackah Law as we expand our business.

– Phoebe Fung, Proprietor, Vin Room & VR Wine

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