• Southern Ontario Ports of Entry Application Submission Window Restricted
  • June 29, 2017
  • The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has advised that effective June 16, 2017, the ports of entry in the Southern Ontario Region (Queenston-Lewiston Bridge, Niagara Falls Rainbow Bridge, and Fort Erie Peace Bridge) are no longer accepting “flagpole” Work Permit applications and Permanent Residence landings on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays or Mondays. This applies to foreign nationals who are Temporary Resident Visa-exempt, holding a valid Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA), and those holding multiple-entry visas.

    Work Permit applications and finalizing of Permanent Residence applications that do not involve “flagpoling” will continue to be processed on all calendar days.

    Background

    CBSA advises that these measures are in response to the high volume of travelers who appear at these border crossings near or on the weekends.

    “Flagpoling” is the practice where the foreign national may be applying for a Work Permit or finalizing the Permanent Residence application by briefly exiting Canada at a land border point, informing the U.S. border patrol officer that he or she is entering the United States only for the purpose of applying for or finalizing a Canadian immigration document, and re-entering Canada immediately.

    Considerations and Alternatives

    Foreign nationals who attempt to apply for a Work Permit or finalize Permanent Residence applications via “flagpoling” on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays or Mondays may face the following consequences:

    • Examination could be deferred, and the foreign national could be re-directed to return to that particular port of entry on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday – the foreign national will be allowed to re-enter Canada under the same status;
    • Grant of temporary residence as a visitor, which does not carry work authorization; or
    • Denial of entry if temporary residence as a visitor is not applicable.
    • As an alternative, foreign nationals may consider the following:
    • “Flagpoling” at another border crossing, e.g., Detroit Ambassador Bridge;
    • Re-entering Canada by air and applying for a Work Permit or finalizing a Permanent Residence application at Pearson International Airport or Billy Bishop Airport; or
    • “Flagpoling” at a border crossing near Niagara Falls on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.

    What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

    Foreign nationals who attempt either process on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays or Mondays will likely have their examinations deferred and be re-directed to return on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

    Currently, there has been no official guidance as to when this temporary restriction on Work Permit and finalization of Permanent Residence applications via “flagpoling” will end at the ports of entry in the Southern Ontario Region. There is also no official guidance as to whether other border crossings may be affected in the future.