Flagpoling – Work permit application at the border

Flagpoling is a popular method for activating a new work permit because it allows individuals to avoid the lengthy processing times associated with renewing their work permit from within Canada, which is the most common reason. Instead, they can leave Canada and which triggers the issuance of a new work permit at the port of entry. This practice is primarily used by individuals who are in Canada on a temporary basis, such as international students or temporary foreign workers, who need to renew their permits or visas but may not be eligible to do so within Canada.

Crossing borders can be nerve-wracking, and the concept of flagpoling can be daunting, particularly since there is limited information available on the internet. However, there is no need to worry.

In this article, we aim to equip you with comprehensive information on flagpoling, enabling you to complete the process with ease and minimal inconvenience. Our step-by-step guide will cover all aspects of how to flagpole to activate a new work permit in Canada, including the necessary documentation and information, as well as the exit and re-entry process. After reading this article, you will better understand how to utilize flagpoling to activate a new work permit in Canada.

It’s important to note that flagpoling can be risky, as individuals may be refused entry upon their return to Canada if their immigration status or documents are not in order. It’s always recommended to consult with an immigration lawyer or licensed immigration consultant before attempting to flagpole or make any changes to your immigration status.

What is Flagpoling?

Flagpoling is a term used to describe the process of leaving Canada, immediately re-entering at a border crossing without entering the USA, and then applying for the new immigration status with the CBSA Officer. This process is commonly used by individuals already in Canada with a valid legal status on a temporary visa or work permit and who wish to apply for a new one or extend the existing one. This is not the process for re-storing your status.

How Flagpoling Works

Flagpoling works by leaving Canada and immediately returning at a border crossing, such as a land border. Upon exiting Canada, the individual will have to stop by US Border and speak with the US Border Officer: You will have to clearly disclose your intention to go back to Canada in order to extend or change your legal status.

You might be asked to park your car at parking lots and enter the building. US Border Officer will search your personal information first and issue you an administrative, volunteer refusal you entering USA (it will not affect you to apply any types of America visa in future). US Border Officer will guide and monitor you to drive your car back to the Canada.

Upon arrival, the individual must state the purpose of their visit, such as to activate a new work permit or apply for Permanent Residency. They will then be interviewed by a CBSA Officer who will review their documents and determine whether they meet the requirements for the new immigration status.

If approved, the individual will be granted the new status and a new immigration document, such as a work permit or Permanent Resident card. If the officer denies the request, the individual will be refused entry and required to leave Canada.

Pros and Cons of Flagpoling


      • Faster Processing Time: Flagpoling can be faster than applying for new immigration status from within Canada. The process can be completed in a matter of hours at the border, whereas processing times for in-Canada applications can take multiple months.

      • Opportunity to Address Issues: If there are any issues with an application, such as missing documents, flagpoling provides an opportunity to address them immediately at the border.


        • Risk of Being Denied Entry: Flagpoling involves being denied entry into Canada, which can result in the individual being unable to return to Canada for a certain period.

        • Uncertainty: Flagpoling can be an uncertain process, as the decision to grant a new immigration status ultimately rests with the immigration officer.

        • Inconvenient: Flagpoling requires travel to a border crossing, which can be inconvenient for those who live far from the border.

      Frequently Asked Questions about Flagpoling

      A. How long does the Flagpoling process take?

      The duration of the flagpoling process can vary depending on various factors, such as the volume of people at the border crossing, the complexity of the individual’s case, and the efficiency of the border officials. Generally, the entire process can take several hours, so it is important to allow enough time and to be patient.

      B. Can I Flagpole at any Canada-US border crossing?

      Yes, flagpoling can be done at any Canada-US border crossing. However, some border crossings may be busier than others, so choosing a less busy border crossing can help expedite the process.

      C. Do I need to have a legal status in Canada to flagpole?

      Yes, you will have to have a legal status in Canada or under maintained status. Out of status applicants are risking deportation.

      D. What documents would I need:

      Most of the documents necessary for the online application will be requested by the CBSA Officer except government forms.

      E. Will Flagpoling affect my immigration status or future applications?

      Flagpoling is a legal process for activating a new work permit in Canada under the and should not affect an individual’s immigration status or future applications. Though any misrepresentation or false information provided during the flagpoling process can have serious consequences.

      Final words

      Flagpoling can be useful for those seeking to activate a new work permit in Canada. However, it is crucial to consider the pros and cons before deciding to flagpole and to seek professional advice if you need clarification on the process or requirements. It is also important to be honest with border officials and to ensure that all required documents are in order before embarking on the flagpoling process.

      If you are considering flagpoling to activate a new work permit in Canada under the IEC program, research and prepare accordingly. Consider seeking professional advice and being honest with border officials throughout the process. And remember, while flagpoling can be faster than applying for a new work permit from within Canada, it does involve some risks and uncertainties.

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