Flagpoling Canada Visa

Coronavirus and Canada-US border restrictions: Flagpoling is considered non-essential travel, so you may not consider it for validating your COPR (permanent resident landing paper) or receive a work permit, a study permit or renewing your stay in Canada.


flagpoling canada visaVera is a citizen of Italy. She travelled to Canada by air more than five months ago. At Toronto Pearson Airport, a Border Services Officer allowed her to stay in Canada for up to six months. Consequently, Vera leased a furnished apartment in downtown Toronto. She has enjoyed staying in Toronto so much that she intends to stay here for another four or five months. However, she needs to extend her stay. As a result, she wonders if she could flagpole to stay in Canada a few more months.

Millions of people visit Canada every year. They enjoy our safe country, its natural beauty, and the entertainment opportunities that exist in every province. However, their stay is not permanent. A Border Services Officer (BSO) decides for how long a visitor may stay in Canada. They usually allow you to stay in Canada for up to six months. Regardless of the length of the stay, when it comes to an end, you need to leave Canada. Alternatively, you may extend your stay by applying for an extension.

A typical extension application costs $100 and could take several weeks before you receive an officer’s decision.  Thus, some people choose to flagpole instead. Flagpoling offers them a same-day result.

What is flagpoling?

The term flagpoling means you go to a Canada-US land crossing. However, you do not travel to the US. Instead, you inform the US border officer you intend to change your status in Canada. Consequently, they usually deny your entry to the US and send you back to Canada. Upon entering Canada, you apply for the new status. If you are not familiar with flagpoling at all, consider reading the following article first:

Flagpoling could occur for several reasons. For example,

This article focuses on extending your stay as a visitor.

Who is a visitor?

A visitor or rather a temporary visitor is someone who visits Canada under the following conditions:

  • Not studying in Canada, unless the program is exempt from a study permit
  • Not working in Canada, unless the job is exempt from a work permit
  • Leave Canada by the end of the last day of their legal stay

As mentioned earlier, a BSO decides on the last day of the authorized visit in Canada.

Who may flagpole for renewing their stay in Canada?

You may flagpole for renewing your stay in Canada if you currently have a valid or implied status in Canada. Of course, if you are from a visa-required country, then you need to hold a valid TRV as well. If you do not meet these requirements, do not flagpole for renewing your stay.

If unqualified, you could face one of the following problems:

  • The officer allows you to enter Canada but does not renew your stay
  • The officer issues a removal order for you
  • In rare cases, you may face detention

Note: If you hold a TRP, do not use flagpoling for renewing your stay. Consult with your immigration consultant or lawyer for your options.

What kind of documents do you need for renewing stay?

If you are eligible for flagpoling for renewing stay, you need to have all the necessary documents with you at the time of application, namely:

  • passport or travel document, and
  • proof of the financial ability to cover your expenses in Canada, and
  • documents that show you have enough ties with your home country, and
  • proof of legal status in Canada, such as

Although not mandatory, I highly recommend the following documents:

  • Another government-issued ID, and
  • two immigration photos, and
  • any other documents that support you won’t overstay in Canada, and you have no intention to study or work illegally [practitioners see R180].

If you have implied status, you need to take proof of your implied status to the port of entry, namely:

  • confirmation of receipt of the extension application, and
  • receipt of payment, and
  • any other documents that show you have implied status.

If any of the documents are not in English or French languages, make sure to translate them to one. Of course, use the services of a certified translator only.

NOTE: This is not an official document checklist. You need to consult with your immigration consultant or the IRCC website before entering Canada.

What costs are involved with the application?

This service is currently Free. However, have at least $100 per person in cash and a valid credit card or debit card, just in case.

Where do I need to go for flagpoling?

For a list of locations and potential limitations read the following article.

You may also find the following article useful:

If you wish to visit or move to Canada, please fill out our free assessment form. We will review the form for free, but we will contact you only if we find an opportunity for you. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session. Consultation sessions are not free, but you will receive formal advice from a licenced practitioner.

Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada


This article provides information of a general nature only. It may no longer be current. It does not give legal advice. Do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. We cannot be held responsible for the content of these articles. If you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. If you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment. All the characters in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Any resemblance in names, dates, and places (whether individuals, organizations, regions, or countries) is coincidental.

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Al Parsai

Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) in Toronto, Canada. He also teaches the official immigration consulting courses at Ashton College in Vancouver, Canada. Al who holds a Masters degree from Yorkville University is a member of ICCRC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented hundreds of applicants from more than 30 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.

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