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Flagpoling in Canada

Flagpoling is defined as when a foreign national who is already in Canada, leaves Canada and returns to Canada without crossing into the USA. The reason they may do this is to obtain a new temporary residence status such as a renewed study or work permit or to complete the PR process.

Good Afternoon, I wanted to recount a recent experience flagpoling at the Lansdowne, ON border crossing.

It was an experience.

For those of you who have not been to this border, it is quite large. First, you go through the USA border, where you will declare that you are flagpoling. Don’t forget to do ArriveCan for entry to Canada!

ArriveCAN is a free, digital platform operated by the Government of Canada. It allows travelers entering Canada to securely provide mandatory travel information, including their COVID-19 proof of vaccination and quarantine details, before and after entering Canada.

The USA border officer will ask you to pull over and go inside to get an administrative refusal. When you pull over you will give up your car keys to a border agent and you will go inside. Inside an officer will process your entry and ask some questions. When they have completed their administrative refusal they will ask you to go back to your car and you will be escorted by another vehicle back to Canada.

At the Canadian border, the CBSA officer reviewed both of our passports, asked about food and alcohol purchases, and covid, and asked for our addresses. He asked my client about his initial visit to Canada and how he knows the employer and why is he changing status so quickly after entering Canada. My client said he could leave on June 20th as he had booked a flight, but it made sense to stay and work because they need him at the farm job.

Next, the officer sent us to park at the Canadian customs building and my client went in on his own. I had previously prepared a package of documents that he took with him. Inside, the officer took his phone and documents. He reviewed the documents and asked some questions about his application at the border. The officer was not happy about the application and asked why he waited ten days to come to the border. He also accused him of lying and working illegally. My client was really in the hot seat at this point.

On the way into Canada the first time, I had advised my client to tell the agent that he is a farmer and is entering to see his friend’s farm to see how it works. The original job offer was created in February from the LMIA and a long period had passed and the officer questioned this. The officer accused him of not being friends with the employer and that he had lied on his original entry ten days before. What changed his tone was that my client had paid for half of his flight to Canada and his medical in Canada. He also didn’t lie when entering the first time - he was going to see how the farm worked - and the officer was able to verify this information. Once the officer verified the above, he provided the work permit and we were on our way!

Lessons learned: have the worker pay for their ticket and medical if they are visiting first. Tell the truth during the original entry. Go to the border sooner than later if possible.

I hope this information is helpful!


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Immigration Station Canada is a dedicated, professional Canadian Immigration firm practicing out of Northumberland County, just east of Toronto, Canada. We serve clients from Kingston, Belleville, Brighton, Cobourg, Oshawa, the GTA, Guelph, Milton, Stratford, and St. Catharines and around the world. Our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, Anne C. McCaughey (Annie) is an experienced immigration services provider and a fifth-generation Canadian who values the immigration process and the unique individuals who immigrate to Canada to become part of the fabric of this wonderful country. If you would like to submit a question to Ask Annie, use the contact form.

How Can We Help? We do work permits, study permits, visitor visas, Express Entry, spousal sponsorship, family class sponsorship, and Canadian citizenship with expertise in Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications and Global Talent Stream applications. Please contact us if you would like assistance with your immigration application or to book an appointment.

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