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Flagpoling in Canada: A Swift Path to Renewed Status

Flagpoling is a term often heard within the immigration circles in Canada. It refers to a process where a foreign national, already in Canada, exits the country and then immediately returns without crossing into the United States. This maneuver is commonly employed to secure a new temporary residence status, such as a renewed study or work permit, or to advance the permanent residency process.

Why Flagpole?

While Temporary Resident Visa holders usually apply for permit renewals through online or paper applications, these processes can take weeks or even months to yield results. However, many individuals cannot afford to wait. By opting for flagpoling, applicants can often receive immediate processing when they present themselves at the border.

The term "flagpoling" originates from the idea that individuals in Canada simply need to travel 'around the flagpole' at the border before presenting themselves for processing.

Who Can Flagpole?

Initially popular among study and work permit holders seeking renewals, flagpoling has expanded its scope through various public policies. It is now a viable option for other immigration programs, including those related to permanent residency.

The following individuals are permitted to use the flagpoling process:

  • Residents of visa-exempt countries with an LMIA-exempt job.

  • Residents of visa-exempt countries holding a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

  • Residents of the U.S., St. Pierre & Miquelon, and Greenland.

  • Residents of visa-required countries who already possess a study or work permit and are flagpoling for renewal purposes

Please note that seasonal agricultural workers are not eligible for flagpoling.

How to Flagpole

When you approach the U.S. border control, inform the customs agent of your intent to flagpole. They will issue an administrative refusal to the USA and direct you to the Canadian Border Services. There, you will submit the necessary documentation based on the type of permit you are seeking to obtain.

It's essential to be aware that there is a possibility of being denied entry at both the U.S. and Canadian borders. In such cases, you could find yourself in a challenging situation, potentially requiring a return to your country of citizenship or residence.

Required Documents

For a successful flagpoling experience, it is advisable to prepare a complete study or work permit package, adhering to the document checklist specific to your application. Proper preparation is key to reaping the benefits of this efficient process.


Flagpoling can be a valuable tool when used under the right circumstances. It offers a quicker and often less expensive route to renewing permits and achieving permanent residency status. However, it's crucial to be well-prepared with the correct documentation and understand the potential risks involved.

If you require assistance with your flagpoling application, please feel free to contact us at to book an appointment. Our team is here to guide you through the process and help you make the most of this efficient approach to immigration status renewal in Canada.

Immigration Station Canada will work with you and guide you through the best process to achieve your goals, wherever they lead!


About Us

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, 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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