What is the change? The Canada Border Services Agency has said that certain port-of-entry applications made at checkpoints on the Rainbow, Queenston-Lewiston and Peace bridges in Southern Ontario will not be accepted from Friday to Monday.

What does the change mean? The change will only apply to so-called “flagpoling” cases, where a temporary resident leaves Canada briefly for the purpose of re-entering to submit an application for a work or study permit or for confirmation of permanent residence. Applications that do not involve flagpoling will continue to be accepted. Authorities will also continue to accept applications (whether they involve flagpoling or not) on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays and at other border crossings or at airports.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: The changes will affect the processing of confirmation of permanent residence documents and work-permit and study-permit applications.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals submitting flagpole applications from Friday to Monday for any of the permits listed above.
  • Business impact: Business schedules may be affected, especially for individuals intending to enter Canada before the start of a new work week.
  • Next steps: A number of alternatives are available for those affected by this change. Residents who flagpole at the locations listed above between Friday and Monday will be given the opportunity to enter Canada on their current status and apply for the permit they are seeking online, by mail or by visiting an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada office in Canada. Residents will also have the option of returning between Tuesday and Thursday to have flagpole applications considered. They can have their applications processed by crossing at a border checkpoint other than those listed above or by leaving Canada and re-entering by air.

Background: The Canada Border Services Agency has said it is piloting the flagpoling project to help ensure that resources are focused on security and trade priorities during high-volume periods. The CBSA previously indicated that changes similar to these would be put in place in May, but implementation was delayed. CBSA has now confirmed that border application procedures have been implemented at the Rainbow, Queenston-Lewiston and Peace bridges in Southern Ontario.

BAL Analysis: Travelers should take note of the change and only plan on submitting flagpole applications at checkpointsoints on the Rainbow, Queenston-Lewiston and Peace bridges on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays. Even then, applications may take longer to process if submitted at these locations, so submitting applications at inland checkpoints may be a better option.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Canada. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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