Flagpoling Work 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 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 flagpole or rather 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:

If you do not fall under any of these groups, do not flagpole for a work 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
  • 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 showing 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 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?

When you are applying for a work permit, you need to pay a $155 (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. If your spouse applies for an open work permit, then consider $255 for 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.

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 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.

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