Flagpoling Study Permit Canada

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 study permit CanadaMahir is a citizen of Yemen. He came to Canada as a visitor last month. Like many other visitors, Mahir fell in love with Canada. Consequently, he approached a community college and received admission to his favourite program. Mahir intends to apply for a study permit. However, he wonders if he can flagpole or rather go to a US-Canada land crossing and receive his study permit.

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 receiving a study permit.

Who may flagpole for a study permit?

The following people may apply for a study permit at a Canadian port of entry:

  • A US citizen,
  • A Permanent Resident of the United States or rather a Green Card holder,
  • A person that the US has lawfully admitted them for permanent residence,
  • A resident of St. Pierre and Miquelon, or
  • A resident of Green Land. (Source: section 214 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations)

If you do not fall under any of these groups, do not flagpole for a study permit. If unqualified, you could face one of the following problems:

  • The officer allows you to enter Canada but advises you to apply online or by paper after the entry
  • The officer issues a removal order for you
  • In rare cases, you may face detention

What kind of documents do you need?

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

  • Proof of Acceptance: An admission letter from a Designated Learning Institution (DLI) in Canada
  • Evidence of Financial Support for at least One Year: Documents that show you can pay your tuition fee and other expenses. For example, you can show one or more of the following documents:
    • your bank statements,
    • scholarship or bursary documents,
    • financial records of the person who supports you (such as their salary payslips, or bank statements),
    • the receipt of the payment of the first-semester tuition fee or the residence fee (if applicable), or
    • any other documents that convince the officer you won’t face financial problems in Canada.
  • Proof of Identity: You need to present a valid passport. It is also a good idea to have a secondary government-issued document such as a driver’s licence
  • Letter of explanation: Explain why you intend to study in Canada and show you are aware of your responsibilities as an international student. Some of your responsibilities include
    • engaging in full-time studies,
    • not committing any illegal activities,
    • no interruptions in your studies, and
    • leaving Canada upon completion of your studies.
  • Custodian declaration for minor children: Minor children who study in Canada need to have a Custodian. Click here to download the form and have it signed by the parent(s) and the custodian.
  • Certificat d’acceptation du Québec (CAQ): If you intend to study in the province of Quebec you need to obtain a CAQ from the Province.
  • Other Documents: Bring other supporting documents with you, such as:
    • Two passport size photos  (as a backup)
    • Use of a Representative form duly signed by you and your representative (e.g. an RCIC), if you have one. You usually do not need this document. However, if you encounter any problems at the border, the form proves you have a representative. Consequently, it encourages the border services officer to call your representative to resolve the issues.
    • Marriage certificate (if you are married). If your spouse accompanies you, then this document is essential, because they will be able to receive a visitor record or even an open work permit while you are studying in Canada.
    • If you are not married but in a common-law relationship and your partner is accompanying you to Canada, carry enough documents to verify your relationship. For example,
      • a signed Statutory Declaration of Common-law Union form,
      • bills that show both names with the same address,
      • government-issued cards or documents that show similar addresses for both,
      • joint rental or lease agreements, or
      • joint ownership of properties or vehicles.
    • Job offers from an employer in Canada that shows you have the intention to go back to your home country upon completion of your studies (not mandatory but helpful)
    • Police clearance certificates from your home country and every country you have lived in for more than six months since the age of 18 (not mandatory but helpful)
    • Documents that show you can complete your studies in Canada. For example,
      • English or French language test results,
      • GMAT test results, or
      • education credentials.

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?

When you are applying for a study permit, you need to pay a $150 (Canadian Funds). Of course, you also need to give biometrics, unless you are a US citizen, or you are older than 79 years or younger than 14 years. The biometrics fee is $85 per person.

Where do I need to go for flagpoling?

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

You may also read the following article for more information about applying for a study permit at a port of entry.

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.

Related Posts

Can international students quit their studies in Canada?

Apr 19, 2021

IRCC accepts 90,000 immigrants from temporary residents in Canada

Apr 15, 2021

Criminality versus serious criminality in immigration to Canada

Apr 13, 2021

Dependent type A B C in immigration to Canada

Apr 11, 2021

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.

Do you have any questions?