Flagpoling – Canada Status at a Land Crossing
|Coronavirus travel restrictions: CBSA has resumed flagpoling. However, there is still a chance they do not process your application for validating your COPR (permanent resident landing paper) or receive a work permit, a study permit or renewing your stay in Canada. Consequently, at this stage, beware of potential complications at the port of entry.|
Some people inside Canada may need to renew or change their status. However, travelling outside Canada is costly. They may also not qualify to apply from inside Canada. Even if they are eligible, the process takes a very long time. Flagpoling is a potential solution to this problem.
What is flagpoling?
Flagpoling means taking the following steps:
- You collect all the necessary documents, for example:
- Your passport
- Passport photos
- The LMIA letter from ESDC for a work permit
- The admission letter from a Designated Learning Institution for a study permit
- Confirmation of Permanent Residency for landing as a permanent resident
- Notes from the immigration authorities
- Other necessary documents, depending on the application type
- You travel to a land crossing that processes immigration applications
- Upon entry to the United States, you inform the officer your intention is not to enter the US but to go through flagpoling
- Depending on your nationality, they deny your entry to the US and pass you a paper that explains you tried to enter their country.
- You return to Canada and tell you to intend to update your status
- The officer will send you to the CBSA office
- A CBSA officer reviews your documents
If the officer believes you hold all necessary documents and meet all the required requirements, issue you the new status. Here are some examples of flagpoling reasons:
- Applying for a work permit
- Landing as a permanent resident of Canada
- Applying for a study permit
- Extending your stay as a visitor
Of course, the devil is in the details. Make sure that you qualify for flagpoling before taking action.
Where can someone flagpole?
You must enter Canada through those land crossings that process immigration applications to a flagpole. Here is a list of land crossings between Canada and the United States.
- British Columbia
- Boundary Bay
- Pacific Highway
- Pleasant Camp
- Estevan Highway
- North Portal
- West Poplar River
- Willow Creek
- Crystal City
- South Junction
- Windsor-Detroit Ambassador Bridge
- Cornwall Traffic Office
- Fort Erie (Peace Bridge)
- Fort Frances Bridge
- Lansdowne (Thousand Islands Bridge)
- Niagara Falls Rainbow Bridge(Travellers only)
- Niagara Falls Whirlpool Bridge (NEXUS members only)
- Pigeon River
- Queenston Lewiston Bridge (Travellers and Commercial)
- Rainy River
- Sarnia (Blue Water Bridge)
- Sault Ste. Marie Bridge
- Windsor-Detroit Tunnel
- Covey Hill
- East Hereford
- East Pinnacle
- Glen Sutton
- Hereford Road
- Lacolle: Route 221
- Lacolle: Route 223
- Morses Line
- St-Bernard-de-Lacolle: Highway 15
- Stanstead (55)
- New Brunswick
- Forest City
- Four Falls
- Gillespie Portage
- Grand Falls
- St. Croix
- St. Leonard
- River de Chute
- St. Stephen (Ferry Point Bridge)
- St. Stephen 3rd Bridge
- Woodstock Road
Consider the following:
- The previous list is subject to change. Visit the CBSA website for an up-to-date list.
- Some land crossings may offer limited services or limited hours of operation. Consequently, contact them or refer to reliable sources before approaching them.
- It is in your best interest to cross a significant land crossing as they have plenty of resources, such as a Minister Delegate and senior officers. They are deeply familiar with immigration law.
CBSA or Canada Border Services Agency and IRCC or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada are two parallel Canadian agencies in immigration. Generally, CBSA enforces the immigration law, and IRCC is responsible for processing applications and making policies. While CBSA has limited responsibility in issuing status, they prefer to leave this job to IRCC. Consequently, CBSA does not like people to approach the border to process their applications. Therefore, while flagpoling, you could face any of the following issues:
- There is no officer to process your request.
- The land crossing accepts applications on certain days of the week or particular hours of the day.
- They reach their daily quota and won’t take more applications
- You do not meet the requirements of the application or do not hold all the necessary documents
- They find you inadmissible to Canada
In any of these situations, the applicant may face any of the following problems:
- You need to come back another day and go through the same process
- The officer advises you to apply online or by paper after entering Canada
- The officer issues a removal order for you
- In rare cases, you may even face detention
Limited hours of operation
CBSA has imposed the following limitations since 2018:
|Port of Entry (Land Crossing)||Which applications||When service is available|
CBSA may expand these limitations at any time.
If you wish to visit or move to Canada, please fill out our free assessment form. We will review it 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.
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This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.
The characters and places in the articles:
All the characters and locations in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Therefore, any resemblance in names, dates, and places is coincidental.
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