Flagpoling Permanent Residence Canada – Landing

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 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 about 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.
  • For other people a combination of the COPR and a visa counterfoil in your passport.

Upon receiving the document(s), you are almost a permanent resident. However, you need to validate your COPR. As soon you 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 important 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 the date you officially become a permanent resident of Canada.

Who may flagpole for landing?

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

If you have not received these document(s), do not flagpole for landing. 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 languages, 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. 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.

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 immigration courses at Ashton College in Vancouver, Canada. Al, who holds a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University, is a member of ICCRC 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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