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Applications at the Port-of-Entry

Applications at the Port-of-Entry

The type of documents you provide to the Port-of-Entry Officer will depend on your application and qualification stream

If you hold a passport from a visa-exempt country, you may have the ability to apply for your status document (Work Permit or Study Permit) at the Port-of-Entry. Depending on the application and the stream under which you qualify, you will need to provide different documents to the Port-of-Entry Officer. If you are working or studying with children, the elderly, or in the medical field, you will need to have completed an immigration medical with a panel physician prior to applying. If you are travelling to Canada by air, you must have a valid electronic travel authorization (eTA) before being permitted to board.

When you land at a Canadian airport you should declare to the first officer you see that you wish to apply for a work or study permit. You will then be taken to a secondary processing area where you will fill out your application. Depending on the date of travel and volume of traffic, you may have to wait a few hours before your application is processed. If you are travelling with family, plan for a long wait and have snacks and entertainment on hand. Give yourself time to get through the process; delay making commitments for meetings in the first few hours after you land.

If you have family members with you, they will also be issued documents, which will be based on your status. Bring copies of your marriage certificate and the birth certificates of your children. Your spouse may be eligible for an open work permit and your dependant children may be issued visitor records. The documents issued to your family will be based on your status, so they may not be issued for longer than your work permit.

If you are entering Canada via a land Port-of-Entry and you hold a passport from a visa-exempt country, you may apply at the border. If you plan on making your initial entry into Canada via a land crossing, check with the border crossing you will enter for the best time to apply. Given the high volume of traffic between Canada and the United States of America at some land border crossings, there are restrictions on the days and types of applications accepted. If your application is accepted for processing, you may have to wait a few hours for it to be processed.

International Mobility Program Work Permit

If your Canadian job offer is under the International Mobility Program (IMP), you may request the issuance of a work permit at the Port-of-Entry. Your Canadian employer must submit an offer of employment to the Canadian government via the Employer Portal. Once the offer of employment has been submitted and the employer has paid the $230 submission fee, the Employer Portal will generate a number specific to you. That number is needed when you apply for the work permit, as it will allow the officer to find the employer information and to verify your application.

While your application is being processed the officer may ask questions to verify that you qualify under the IMP and specifically to the exemption code your employer used. The officer must be completely satisfied that you meet the criteria as submitted in the offer of employment, so you should travel with your updated resume and your education certificates. If you are transferring within a company, bring proof of your previous employment with the company.

Temporary Foreign Worker Program

If your Canadian job offer is under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), you may request your work permit to be issued at the Port-of-Entry. Before you travel, your Canadian employer should provide you with a copy of a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This document should be given to the officer processing your work permit request. The officer may ask questions to verify that you qualify to do the work outlined in the LMIA. You should travel with your current resume, trade certificates/educational certificates or diplomas, and any other documents that show you are qualified for the job. If the job requires Canadian certification, you should provide proof that you have, or will meet, the requirements with the various provincial or federal boards.

Study Permit

If you are a national or permanent resident of the U.S., a person who has lawfully been admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence, or a resident of Greenland or St. Pierre and Miquelon, you may apply for a study permit at a Port-of-Entry. 

Before you request a study permit, you must have an acceptance letter from a designated learning institution (DLI). If you plan on studying in Quebec, you need a Certificat d'acceptation du Québec (CAQ) issued by the Quebec government. Your school can give you all the details on how to apply for the CAQ.

When you enter Canada, you will need to provide your acceptance letter from the DLI to the officer processing your request. You should also travel with a letter you have written that explains why you want to study in Canada and that you understand your responsibilities as a student. 

You will need to show that you have funds to support yourself for the duration of your study.  You should bring with you one or more of the following: proof of a Canadian bank account in your name; proof of a student loan from a bank; proof the tuition and housing fees have been paid; or a letter from a person or school giving you money or proof of funding paid from within Canada (scholarship or Canadian-funded program). You must show you have the minimum funds to support yourself as a student. The following amounts are the funds required, in addition to the tuition amount, for students outside of Quebec: $10,000 per year for the student, an additional $4,000 per year for the first family member, and an another $3,000 per year for each additional family member.

Always check that you are eligible to make Port-of-Entry applications before you travel.


About the author

Melanie Goldsworthy[CICC ID: R513701]
Melanie is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (R513701) with a focus on Business Immigration matters. Melanie has worked with all sizes of companies to bring workers into Canada under both the IMP and TFWP.
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