EI – Workers and residents outside Canada – Eligibility

2. Eligibility

The following information is a guideline. We encourage you to apply for benefits to allow our processing agents to determine if you are eligible.

Canadian Employment Insurance benefits may be paid to you when you reside or work outside Canada in the following situations:

  • your last employment was in Canada, but you now reside in the United States;
  • your permanent residence is in a country other than Canada or the United States, you are applying for maternity, parental, compassionate care or family caregiver benefits and you have a valid Social Insurance Number; or
  • you are a commuter (a resident of Canada or the U.S. who regularly crosses the Canada–U.S. border between your residence and workplace).

You may be eligible for American Unemployment Insurance benefits if your last employment was in the United States and you now reside in Canada. If you also had previous employment in Canada, you may be able to file a claim for Canadian Employment Insurance benefits instead. You may be able to receive benefits from either Canada or the United States, but you cannot receive benefits from both countries at the same time.

Maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care and family caregiver benefits

Maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care and family caregiver benefits can be paid to you if you are living in the United States as long as you meet the requirements for these benefits.

To be eligible for maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care, Family caregiver benefit for children or Family caregiver benefit for adults you must show that you have worked:

  • in a job that is insured under Canada's Employment Insurance program; and
  • for at least 600 hours in the last 52 weeks or since your last claim.

You may file your claim for Canadian Employment Insurance maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care benefits or family caregiver benefits online. For more information, call 1-800-206-7218.

Canadian government and Armed Forces personnel posted in the United States

You may be entitled to regular, maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care or family caregiver benefits if you or your dependents are posted in the United States and working for the Canadian government or for the Armed Forces. Dependents include your spouse, unmarried children under 21, unmarried full-time students under 25 and unmarried disabled children

You may file your claim for Canadian Employment Insurance benefits online. For more information, call 1-800-206-7218.

Your permanent residence is in a country other than Canada or the United States

If you permanently reside in a country other than Canada or the United States, you may be eligible for maternity, parental, sickness or compassionate care, Family caregiver benefit for children or Family caregiver benefit for adults if you have worked in a job in your country of residence that is insurable under Canada's Employment Insurance (EI) program.

For example, you may be a spouse of a member of the Canadian Armed Forces and working abroad for the Canadian government. If you become ill and are unable to work, you can apply for sickness benefits if you meet the requirements.

You may file a claim for Canadian EI maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care or family caregiver benefits online. For more information, call 1-800-206-7218 or write to the following address:

Service Canada Centre
Sub-Unit of interstate claim processing
19 Lisgar Street
Sudbury, ON
P3E 6L1

If you normally reside outside Canada and the United States and your last employment was in Canada, you may be eligible for maternity, parental, compassionate care, or family caregiver benefits, provided you have a valid Social Insurance Number.

You are a commuter

Commuters are Canadians or Americans who regularly cross the Canada–U.S. border between their residence and workplace.

If you are an American living near the Canadian border and you usually commute to Canada to work, you must file a claim for Canadian EI benefits at the nearest Service Canada Centre. Your claim will be treated like that of any resident of Canada. Therefore, you may be entitled to receive regular, maternity, parental, sickness, compassionate care, Family caregiver benefit for children or Family caregiver benefit for adults.

If you are a Canadian living near the American border and you usually commute to the United States to work, you must file a claim for American Unemployment Insurance benefits at the nearest state workforce development agency.

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