I am an American citizen who will be working in Canada for 3 months as a contractor/freelancer. I already have a contract. This is my first time working as a non-salaried employee. Is there anything I need to do in the US (e.g. register myself or set anything up) before I start my short term work in Canada?

I’m also in the process of applying for the NAFTA professionals working visa and it asks for evidence of company relationship. Since I won’t be working for a US company (just as a freelancer on my own), do I actually need to provide this/what do I need to provide?enter image description here

Document: Evidence of company relationship

You must provide proof of the relationship between the company you work for in your country of origin and the Canadian company you intend to work for while you are in Canada

Examples of evidence of company relationship include proof of your occupation and the duration of your employment at the company in your country of origin and proof of the proposed position at the Canadian company.

The Canadian and foreign companies must be legal entities that have a parent, subsidiary, branch or affiliate business relationship. The Canadian and foreign companies must be doing business currently or will be doing business in the future.

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    Please edit your question and include the text from the picture as text. Pictures of text are not indexable by search engines.
    – user6860
    Commented Jun 28, 2019 at 6:40
  • You might want to look at Personal Finance & Money. It's not required under US law that you set up a company to receive your pay, but it might be advantageous for tax reasons or for other legal considerations. On the other hand, if you've already established your contract with your client in Canada, it may be too late; I don't have any direct experience or much knowledge of these matters. In any event, for an engagement of only three months, whatever advantage or disadvantage may be relatively insignificant.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 28, 2019 at 15:27
  • The image suggests that you have got into the intra-company transfer type of visa application. I would recheck the visa type and process you are following. Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 15:15

2 Answers 2


One thing to be aware of is if you are self-employed and you live overseas, you may still be required to pay self-employment taxes in the US, including Social Security. This would need to be paid before the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, so it is an actual out-of-pocket expense, not something that would be offset on your expat tax return. The rules are different for each country, so visiting the Social Security website is the best way to see how this will work while in Canada.

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    Having to pay Social Security while employed and resident overseas is not necessarily required. The US has Totalization Agreements with many foreign governments, which agreements relieve overseas-resident and overseas-employed US citizens from having to pay Social Security while the qualifying conditions persist. This IRS link: irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/… has more information. Commented Jun 28, 2019 at 15:35
  • Yes, 100% correct, hence my advice to check the SS website. You can also find a copy of the agreement between the US and Canada on their website. Thank you for your link as well! Commented Jul 1, 2019 at 3:35

The other answers so far have focused on the US citizen aspect, especially the tax aspect, which is important but at least equally or, in my opinion as a Canadian, more so are the Canadian and (this being Canada) provincial law aspects.

Here's some more US tax questions to consider:

"From a tax perspective, U.S. citizens in Canada exist in the worst of both worlds." https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/taxes/us-citizens-living-in-canada-beware-these-five-tax-traps/article37658751/

You don't mention what you've done to get the right paperwork so that you can work legally in Canada. Here's some places to start.

Just calling yourself a freelance contractor doesn't necessarily make you one under the law. You don't mention the province you intend to live in, which is important as employment standards is a provincial matter. Here are some for Ontario.



  • The question says "I’m also in the process of applying for the NAFTA professionals working visa" so I'm curious why this answer says "you don't mention what you've done to get the right paperwork so that you can work legally in Canada." Also, whether someone qualifies as an employee under the employment standards act may be independent of whether it is legal for them to bill as an independent contractor (see the last bullet point under "common misconceptions").
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 30, 2019 at 15:03

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