What is flagpoling

What is flagpoling?

Flagpoling is the term used to describe when a foreign national, who is already in Canada with temporary status, crosses the border between Canada and the United States without entering the U.S. This means that they immediately re-enter the Canadian border to obtain same-day immigration services. For example, to renew or change their status.

Typically, flagpoling can be carried out at any point of entry, but it is most often done at land border crossings, especially in the Niagara region of Ontario. This practice, which is completely legal, has been ongoing for years and continues to gain popularity as the backlog at the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) persists.

Our CEO and RCICAl Parsai, has written a group of articles with all you need to know about flagpoling.

Flagpoling issues

According to our Immigration ConsultantAl Parsai, the CBSA (or Canada Border Services Agency) and IRCC (or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) are two parallel Canadian agencies in immigration. Generally, CBSA is responsible for enforcing immigration law, and IRCC is responsible for processing applications and making policies. While CBSA has limited responsibility in the issuance of status, they prefer to leave this job to IRCC. Consequently, CBSA does not like people approaching the border to process their applications. Therefore, while flagpoling, you could face any of the following issues:

  • There is no officer to process your request.
  • The land crossing only accepts applications on certain days of the week or particular hours of the day.
  • They reach their daily quota and won’t take more applications.
  • You do not meet the requirements of the application or do not hold all the necessary documents.
  • They find you inadmissible to Canada.

In any of these situations, the applicant may face any of the following problems:

  • You need to come back another day and go through the same process.
  • The officer advises you to apply online or by paper after entering Canada.
  • The officer issues a removal order for you.
  • In rare cases, you may even face detention.

Ports of entry across Canada: Update

In March, the Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, announced that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) would reinstate pre-pandemic operational hours of service at 39 land and three air ports of entry (POE), effective on March 31, 2023. This move was aimed at facilitating travel across Canada at land and air ports of entry. Additionally, this included the seasonal re-opening of the Chief Mountain POE and the Bloomfield POE, which underwent infrastructure work.

The affected POEs, listed by province, are:

Alberta

Port of entryUpdated hours:
7 days a week
Carway7am to 11pm
Chief Mountain9am to 6pm (May 15 to May 31)
7am to 10pm (June 1 to Labour Day)
9am to 6pm (after Labour Day to September 30)
Closed (October 1 to May 14)
Del Bonita8am to 9pm (June 1 to September 15)
9am to 6pm (September 16 to May 31)
Wild Horse8am to 9pm (May 15 to September 30)
8am to 5pm (October 1 to May 14)

British Columbia

Port of entryUpdated hours:
7 days a week
Cascade8am to midnight
Nelway8am to 8pm
Rykerts8am to midnight (first Saturday in November to 2nd Saturday in March)
7am to 11pm (2nd Sunday in March to first Sunday in November)

Manitoba

Port of entryUpdated hours:
7 days a week
Cartwright8am to 9pm
Coulter8am to 9pm
Crystal City9am to 10pm
Goodlands9am to 10pm
Gretna8am to 10pm
Lena8am to 9pm
Lyleton9am to 10pm
Piney9am to 10pm
Snowflake9am to 10pm
South Junction8am to midnight
Tolstoi8am to 10pm
Windygates9am to 10pm
Winkler8am to 10pm

New Brunswick

Port of entryUpdated hours
Bloomfield9am to 5pm (Monday to Saturday, except holidays)
Fosterville8am to midnight (last Monday of May to the first Monday of September)
8am to 6pm (first Monday of September to the last Monday of May)
7 days a week
Gillespie Portage7am to 11pm, 7 days a week

Quebec

Port of entryUpdated hours:
7 days a week
Chartierville8am to midnight
Frelighsburg24/7
Hemmingford24/7
Highwater24/7
Lacolle Route 22124/7
Stanstead (Route 143)24/7
Trout River24/7

Saskatchewan

Port of entryUpdated hours:
7 days a week
Carievale8am to 9pm (2nd Sunday in March to first Saturday in November)
9am to 10pm (remainder of the year)
Climax9am to 6pm (2nd Sunday in March to May 31)
8am to 9pm (June 1 to September 15)
9am to 6pm (September 16 to first Saturday in November)
10am to 7pm (first Sunday in November to 2nd Saturday in March)
Coronach8am to 6pm (2nd Sunday in March to May 31)
8am to 9pm (June 1 to September 15)
8am to 6pm (September 16 to the first Saturday In November)
9am to 7pm (first Sunday in November the 2nd Saturday in March)
Estevan Highway8am to 9pm (2nd Sunday in March to first Saturday in November)
9am to 10pm (remainder of the year)
Monchy9am to 6pm (2nd Sunday in March to May 31)
8am to 9pm (June 1 to September 15)
9am to 6pm (September 16 to first Saturday in November)
10am to 7pm (first Sunday in November to 2nd Saturday in March)
Northgate8am to 9pm (2nd Sunday in March to first Saturday in November)
9am to 10pm (remainder of the year)
Oungre8am to 9pm (2nd Sunday in March to first Saturday in November)
9am to 10pm (remainder of the year)
Regway24/7
West Poplar River9am to 6pm (2nd Sunday in March to May 31)
8am to 9pm (June 1 to September 15)
9am to 6pm (September 16 to first Saturday in November)
10am to 7pm (first Sunday in November to 2nd Saturday in March)

Airports: updated hours

Alberta: Whetstone International Airport (Del Bonita), 7 days a week

  • Telephone reporting 8 am to 9 pm (June 1 to September 15).
  • 9am to 6pm (September 16 to May 31).

Manitoba: Pinecreek Border Airport (Piney), 7 days a week

  • 9am to 10pm

Saskatchewan: Scobey Border Station Airport (Coronach), 7 days a week

  • 8am to 6pm (2nd Sunday in March to May 31)
  • 8am to 9pm (June 1 to September 15)
  • 8am to 6pm (September 16 to first Saturday in November)
  • 9am to 7pm (first Sunday in November to 2nd Saturday in March)

Please consult the CBSA Directory for the full list of land border crossings around Canada. You should also check the current border measures and requirements.

In addition, be aware that IRCC offers a variety of services for foreign nationals who are already temporary residents. For example, study or work permit holders who wish to extend their status or obtain a new permit should present their application to IRCC within Canada. You can visit IRCC or call 1-888-242-2100 for more information.

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