Canada has several land, sea and air points of entry, and such points of entry are called port of entry(POE). POEs are administered by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). CBSA is responsible for enforcing various laws of Canada, including the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Criminal Code of Canada, Customs Act, etc.  Except for citizens of few countries, foreign nationals are required to make work permits or other immigration applications to Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) through visa offices before appearing at the POE to seek admission to Canada. However, there are few exceptions when a foreign national can make an immigration application directly at the POE.

A foreign national can make an application for a work permit at the POE if :

  • exempted from a Temporary Resident Visa and having a job offer exempted from a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or having a positive LMIA;
  • a citizen or a permanent resident of the U.S., Greenland or Saint-Pierre and Miquelon and they are eligible under an immigration program for a work permit;
  • a foreign national is already admitted into Canada as a temporary resident and has valid immigration status in Canada, including any extended immigration status in Canada. For example, a person entered Canada as a visitor and received a position LMIA from an employer in Canada while having a valid immigration status in Canada. In such a case, the person can make a work permit application at the POE regardless of the country of nationality.

Note: Work Permits for Seasonal Agricultural Workers and Caregiver Programs are not issued at the POE 


An officer of CBSA examines applicants seeking a work permit or intend to become a permanent resident at POE. A foreign national can only be admitted to Canada if an officer is satisfied that the applicant meets all the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. It shall be noted that the CBSA has broad discretion and authority concerning the extent of examination, including a search of electronic devices, e-mails, social media accounts, luggage, etc. If the officer is not satisfied that the applicant meets the requirements for admission to Canada or if the officer found information or material in any electronic device or in possession of a person that is not permitted pursuant to the laws of Canada, the officer can:

  • deny entry to Canada and ask the applicant to leave Canada;
  • seek further information or documents for further examination with instructions to return to the POE on a specific date failing which an arrest warrant could be issued;
  • issue a removal order;
  • write a report seeking proceedings before the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada;
  • report or recommend criminal charges;
  • detain for further examination or proceedings

It shall be noted that at the POE, you may not have a right to counsel unless you are detained.

If you intend to appear at the POE for an immigration application, you should consult a lawyer before attending the POE.