What is Flagpoling ?

What is Flagpoling?

What is Flagpoling?

Flagpoling refers to the act of leaving Canada, quickly re-entering a border crossing without entering the United States, and then applying for new immigration status with a CBSA officer. This method is usually used by people who are already in Canada and have valid legal status on a temporary visa or work permit and are looking to apply for a new visa or extend an existing visa. It is important to note that this process is not intended to restore one’s condition.

How Flagpoling Works

The Flagpoling process involves leaving Canada and immediately returning to a border crossing, such as a land border. Upon departure, individuals must stop at the US border, where they declare their intention to return to Canada in order to renew or change their legal status.

A US border officer may ask people to park their vehicles, enter the building, and check their personal information. While a voluntary refusal of entry to the United States is issued, it has no effect on future applications for any type of U.S. visa. The US border officer guides and supervises people returning to Canada.

Read more in the article Flagpoling : Denied Entry To Canada

Upon re-entering Canada, individuals must declare the purpose of their trip, such as activating a new work permit or applying for permanent residence. A CBSA officer will conduct an interview and review documents to determine eligibility for new immigration status.

If approved, the individual receives a new status and an immigration document such as a work permit or permanent resident card. If denied, the person is denied entry and required to leave Canada.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Flagpoling


  1. Faster processing time: Flagpoling is faster than applying for new immigration status from within Canada, often completed within hours at the border.
  2. Opportunity to address issues: Any application issues, such as missing documents, can be addressed immediately at the border during the flagging process.

Read more in the article Flagpoling : Refugee visa in Canada


  1. Risk of being denied entry: Flagpoling involves being denied entry into Canada, potentially preventing re-entry for a specified period.
  2. Uncertainty: The decision to grant new immigration status rests with the immigration officer, which makes flagpoling an uncertain process.
  3. Inconvenient: Flagpoling involves traveling to a border crossing that may be inconvenient for those who live far from the border.

Read more in the article Flagpoling : international student work limit

Frequently Asked Questions about Flagpoling

The duration varies depending on factors such as the size of the border crossing and the complexity of the case. Generally, it takes several hours, which requires patience.

Yes, flagpoling is possible at every Canada-US border crossing, and some are busier than others.

Yes, it is necessary to have or maintain legal status in Canada. Out-of-status applicants are at risk of deportation.

Most documents required for online applications are requested by the CBSA officer, with the exception of government forms.

Flagpoling is a legal process to activate a new work permit in Canada and should not adversely affect immigration status or future applications. However, misrepresentation during the process can have serious consequences.

In conclusion, while Flagpoling can be useful for those activating a new work permit in Canada, it is important to weigh the pros and cons, seek professional advice, and ensure the integrity and preparedness of the document throughout the process.

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