Flagpoling Permanent Residence Canada – Landing

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.

flagpoling for permanent residence CanadaJoena is a citizen of Vanuatu. She applied for immigration to Canada about three years ago. Subsequently, Joena applied for a study permit and started her studies two years ago. Lucky for her, IRCC recently approved her immigration application. They asked Joena to mail her passport to the Case Processing Centre in Ottawa.

Consequently, she sent the passport and received a PR visa attached to her passport and the Confirmation of Permanent Residency (COPR) paper. Thus, Joena wants to validate her COPR. She wonders if she could flagpole to make this happen.

Sometimes you receive your permanent residence approval while you are inside Canada. In these situations, you have two potential options to validate your permanent residence:

  • Book an appointment with an IRCC inland office.
  • Flagpole!

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 return you 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 landing in Canada.

What is landing?

Landing is the first entry to Canada as a permanent resident. If the immigration authorities approve your permanent residency application, you will receive the following:

  • If you are from a visa-exempt country, a COPR paper.
  • A combination of the COPR and a visa counterfoil in your passport for other people.

You are almost a permanent resident upon receiving the document(s). However, you need to validate your COPR. As soon as you have a valid COPR, you are a permanent resident or, rather, a landed immigrant. Of course, the landing either happens at a port of entry or an inland office in Canada.

What is COPR?

COPR stands for Confirmation of Permanent Residence.  It is a piece of paper that contains some important information about your immigration to Canada. For example,

  • Personal identity:
    • Family name or last name
    • Given name(s) or first name(s)
    • Date of birth
    • Sex
    • Citizenship at the time of landing
  • Immigration information:
    • Unique Client Identification (UCI)
    • Application number or immigration file number
    • COPR document number
  • Personal details:
    • Marriage status
    • Place of birth
    • Country of birth (COB)
    • Height
    • Eye colour
    • Country of residence (COR)
  • Other information about your immigration to Canada

COPR is an essential piece of document. You may need it from time to time for matters such as receiving a Social Insurance Number (SIN), applying for a PR card and Canadian Citizenship. Consequently, make sure to keep it safe. Of course, the date on a COPR is when you officially become a permanent resident of Canada.

Who may flagpole for landing?

If immigration authorities have sent you a COPR and a PR visa, you may need a flagpole for landing. Of course, if you are from a visa-exempt country, you only need a COPR.

Do not flagpole for landing if you have not received these document(s). If unqualified, you could face one of the following problems:

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

What kind of documents do you need for landing?

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

  • Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR), and
  • passport or travel document, and
  • proof of legal status in Canada, such as a work permit or study permit.

Although not mandatory, I highly recommend the following documents:

  • Another government-issued ID, and
  • two immigration photos, and
  • any other documents that support your immigration to Canada.

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, make sure to translate them to one of them. Of course, use the services of a certified translator only.

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

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.

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Al Parsai, LLM, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Adjunct Professor – Queen’s University – Faculty of Law
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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Al Parsai

Al Parsai is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (class L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) in Toronto, Canada. He is an adjunct professor at Queen's University Law School and Ashton College. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of CICC and CAPIC organizations. Al, the CEO of Parsai Immigration Services, has represented thousands of applicants from more than 50 countries to the immigration authorities since January 2011.

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