Abstract Joining techniques for shape memory alloys (SMA) has become of great interest, as their functional properties, namely shape memory effect (SME) and superelasticity (SE), present unique solutions for state-of-the-art applications, although limited results concerning mechanical properties are reported. This paper reports experimental work performed with Nd:YAG continuous wave laser welding of superelastic cold-rolled plates of NiTi 1 mm thick. The mechanical behaviour was evaluated by means of tensile tests performed both to failure and to cycling. The superelastic behaviour of the welded joints was observed for applied stresses close to about 50 MPa below the ultimate tensile strength of the welds. The functionality was confirmed by analyzing the stabilization of the mechanical hysteretic response to strain levels up to 8%. For tensile cycling involving strain levels larger than 6%, welded specimens were found to exhibit superior functional mechanical behaviour presenting larger recoverable strain levels. The fracture surfaces were observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and the effect of the rolling direction on mechanical properties was evaluated and discussed, reinforcing the importance of joint design when laser welding these alloys.