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In certain situations, you can go to a land port of entry into Canada to apply for documents from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). However, IRCC and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) does not recommend this. Instead, it encourages foreign nationals in Canada to apply online through the secure IRCC account.

Applying for an immigration document at the border comes with some benefits. For example, you can get the document on the same day. However, it may be more advantageous to apply online, depending on your situation. For example, if you are a student who has just finished their studies and is eligible for a 3-year post-graduation work permit, you will be able to work longer in Canada if you apply online. This is because, if you meet all the requirements, you will be able to work during the application period, in addition to the 3 years the work permit you have applied for gives you. Those requirements include having to have a valid study permit when you apply: See the section on Right to work after completing your studies and before getting a post graduation work permit for full details. Before making the decision to apply for an immigration document at a border crossing, take the time to consider the advantages and disadvantages of doing this. Here are some of the disadvantages:

  • You may not be allowed into the United States (see «How it works at the border» for more details).
  • There is a possibility that the Canada Border Services Agency will not process your application (border crossings have reduced hours for processing these kinds of applications - see the CBSA website
  • You have to be able to communicate clearly in English with U.S. customs officials.
The Immigration section of this website is intended to provide general information on current procedures, which may change at any time without notice. The laws and regulations in force in Québec and Canada, as well as the websites of Ministère de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration [Québec’s ministry of immigration, francisation, and integration] (MIFI) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), take precedence over this page. 

Last updated on: 2024-05-30