Flagpoling Work Permit Canada

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 work permit CanadaPaitoon is a citizen of Thailand. He came to Canada as a visitor three months ago. Luckily Paitoon received an LMIA-supported job offer from a Canadian employer. Consequently, he wants to apply for a work permit. However, Paitoon wonders if he can get a flagpole or go to a US-Canada land crossing and receive his work 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 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 receiving a work permit.

Who may flagpole for a work permit?

You may apply for a work permit at a port of entry if you are exempt from visas for visiting Canada. Of course, people could be visa-exempt for any of the following reasons:

Do not flagpole for a work permit if you do not fall under any of these groups. 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
  • They may advise you to apply after leaving Canada
  • 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 work permit, you need to have all the necessary documents with you at the time of application, namely:

  • Identity documents, such as passport and driver’s licence
  • The letter of LMIA or documents that show you are exempt from LMIA
  • Offer of employment
  • Some documents that prove your employer is legitimate
  • Your CV
  • Some documents that show the offer of employment is genuine
  • Documents that show you are the right candidate for the job
  • Medical examination report if your job requires going through the medical examination
  • Police certificate reports show you have no criminality issues. Police certificates are optional for most people
  • 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 other than your passport, and
  • two immigration photos, and
  • any other documents that support your work permit application

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?

When applying for a work permit, you must pay $155 (Canadian Funds). Of course, you also need to give biometrics, unless you are a US citizen or older than 79 years or younger than 14 years. The biometrics fee is $85 per person. If your spouse applies for an open work permit, consider $255 for the processing fee and another $85 biometrics fee.

Most land crossings accept cash or credit card payments. However, it is in your best interest to have both options handy.

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.

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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

This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.