Apply for Work Permit at Port of Entry

Apply for work permit at a port of entryChristos is a citizen of Cyprus. He has been staying in Canada as a tourist in the past four months. Since Christos is a successful IT professional, he managed to receive a job offer from a renowned corporation in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The employer obtained a positive LMIA. Consequently, Christos intends to travel back home for two weeks. However, he wonders if he can apply for the work permit on the way back to Canada at a port of entry. It is noteworthy Cypriot nationals must obtain a visa to travel to Canada.

If you want to apply for a work permit to Canada, you may do so before entering Canada. However, some people may apply at a port of entry.

Who may apply for a work permit at a port of entry?

Generally speaking, you may apply for a work permit at the port of entry if you are exempt from visas (TRV) to travel to Canada [practitioners see R198(1)]. People could become exempt from a TRV because of any of the following reasons:

Click each of the links above for more details. Despite being exempt from a TRV, the following people may not apply for a work permit at a port of entry [practitioners see R198(2)]:

  • The documents are incomplete, or the officer needs to examine the authenticity of their application;
  • The nature of the work permit requires a medical examination, and the applicant has not gone through it; or
  • The work permit is under the International Youth Exchange program.

The US permanent residents and citizens are exempt from the last bullet point if they have received approval to their work permit before entering Canada.

What are the benefits of applying at a port of entry?

These are some of the perks of applying for a work permit at a port of entry:

  • The officers process your application on the same day. Sometimes you receive your work permit in less than 30 minutes.
  • You do not need to fill out the application forms. Of course, you need to have a complete package with you.
  • There is a humane aspect to this type of application. The officer will see you in person instead of reviewing a bunch of documents without seeing the actual human behind them.

What are the cons of applying at a port of entry?

Of course, not every application will go smoothly. Here are some of the potential negative aspects of applying at a port of entry:

  • Sometimes there is a massive lineup of applicants. You could spend a few hours in line before meeting the officer.
  • The Border Services Officers may refuse to process the application. For example, if the application is incomplete or if the number of applicants is more than what they can handle.
  • If you are an anxious person, you could find the process nerve-racking.
  • In rare occasions, the officers may remove certain applicants from Canada or even detain them.

What do you need to apply for a work permit at a port of entry?

You need to take a complete set of documents to the port of entry. For example, consider the following documents. Of course, this list is neither inclusive nor exclusive. Consult with your representative for more information:

  • 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

I must emphasize this list is neither inclusive nor conclusive. Keep in mind; most people need to give biometrics at the port of entry. They also must pay the processing fees for the work permit and biometrics.

What about accompanying family members?

Your accompanying family members could qualify for a Visitor Record or an open work permit. Of course, the permits depend on their relationship to you and the duration of your work permit. A typical visitor record allows a family member to stay with you in Canada while you are working. Luckily, minor children may study in Canada without a study permit. However, you need to hold a valid work permit, and they need to hold a valid Visitor Record. Your spouse or common-law partner could also work if they receive an open work permit. Since the circumstances vary significantly, this paragraph does not cover every situation.

If you intend to use a land crossing to receive your work permit, make sure to read the following article as well:

Dual Intent

If you already have an open immigration application and intend to enter Canada on a work permit, make sure to read the following article as well:

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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