The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) informally announced today that it will no longer be permitting flag-poling at certain land crossings in the Southern Ontario Region during peak periods, effective immediately.
Foreign nationals who do not require a temporary resident visa to enter Canada are eligible to apply for an immigration status document (e.g. work permit, study permit, etc.) at a Canadian port-of-entry (e.g. land crossing or international airport). Further, all foreign nationals are eligible to complete the permanent residence landing process at a Canadian port-of-entry as an alternative to landing at an inland immigration office.
Qualifying foreign nationals who are present in Canada can enter the United States of America and then apply for their immigration status document or complete the permanent residence landing process upon re-entry to Canada. This process is colloquially referred to as “flag-poling” and is often advantageous due to lengthy processing times for applications and wait times for landing interviews within Canada.
To alleviate pressure at land border crossings, the CBSA informally announced today that it will no longer be permitting flag-poling at certain high volume ports-of-entry in the Southern Ontario Region during peak periods (i.e. on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, or Mondays), effective immediately. The ports-of-entry affected by this initiative include:
– Niagara Falls;
– Rainbow Bridge; and
– Fort Erie (Peace Bridge).
If a foreign national attempts to flag-pole at the above ports-of-entry between Friday and Monday, it is likely that their examination will be deferred and they will be directed to return to that port-of-entry on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. If a foreign national’s immigration status has expired or will be expiring imminently, there is the added risk that their status document may not be renewed in a timely manner if their examination is deferred and/or they may be denied re-entry to Canada.
In light of this new initiative, any foreign national planning to flag-pole at the ports-of-entry listed above between Friday and Monday should consider re-entering between Tuesday and Thursday and/or consult with their legal counsel about re-entering at an alternative port-of-entry. Further, this initiative highlights the importance of maintaining valid immigration status and filing extension applications in a timely manner.
For more information regarding this initiative or any other immigration matters, please contact a member of our team at PwC Law LLP.