I arrived to Toronto using an eTA (I come from a visa exempt country) before my study permit was issued. After a long story in the borders office at the airport, I was given a TRV until mid September and I would have to work things out by then. They also told me I would have to pass the Canadian borders and come back in order to activate my study permit after receiving the correspondence letter. 2 days later my permit gets approved so I found out that what I have to do is called flagpoling.

It turned out that flagpoling is a thing that people do in order to get their papers done faster. After reading a lot of Niagara flagpoling experiences from people pursuing a faster procedure, it occured many times that border officers denied service after a certain number of people per day (on a first come first serve policy).

tl;dr If I have no other way than crossing the borders to activate the study permit, is there still a chance that I will get denied of service? Also should I just visit the bridge the earlier I can or just any of the working times (8am-midnight) should do?

edit Consulate people were more ignorant than me (or acted like this) so here I am again. Just bumping the post because everywhere I go to ask they tell me they just don't know.

  • I assume you've seen this page? cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/settle-setablir-eng.html – mkennedy Aug 27 '19 at 22:13
  • I have. These information are very general though, and my main issue is that I do not have a study permit at the moment - just the correspondence letter (this will be the first time I get a study permit) and I can't afford going back and forth the Niagara falls without being sure that I will have my case processed. Guess I will ask the Consulate General first thing tomorrow. – separable ninja Aug 27 '19 at 22:55

First let me say that exiting Canada and re-entering is the normal way to get a visa validated. I was unaware that it had a special name. Getting your visa validated without visiting a border is a concession to those for whom getting to a border is not practical.

Given that, there is no danger of your being denied service, any more than anyone else arriving at the Canadian border might be denied entry if they are eligible to enter. You would be advised to choose a time when the border is not busy, but the worst that can happen is that you will have to wait your turn.

  • This is exactly what happened actually. I went a couple of days after making this post. I went on a day that flagpoling was allowed, Thursday afternoon. They told me that even though you could not do flagpole for an application at this hour, my situation was different since it was pre-approved. For that reason also the whole procedure took very little, even with other applicants being there before me. – separable ninja Sep 9 '19 at 3:00
  • @DJClayworth I’m curious - the page linked to in the OP’s question workingholidayincanada.com/flagpoling-us-canadian-border mentions ‘being refused entry to the USA’. Is that the correct way to describe what happens? And if so, does the applicant then have a denial of entry on their travel history that they’d have to disclose if asked in any future visa applications? – Traveller Sep 9 '19 at 7:12
  • It's possible that not actually having visited the US makes a difference. When I've done this I actually entered the US for few minutes. – DJClayworth Sep 9 '19 at 13:13

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