There are three ways to apply for a work permit in Canada:

  1. Applying online
  2. Sending a request by mail
  3. Visiting the border

I write here about the third option. I went in November 2015.

Visiting the border is the fastest way I could get my work permit, however, I should warn you should know that because that decision must be done at that very moment, there are many factors that could play positive or negative in your application. Some things I can think at this moment are: making phone calls (someone must answer), and even if the agent who is evaluating is having a good or bad day. The current agent has all the power to accept or reject your application.

Please note I am not an Immigrant Consultant, and the content of this article and any others in this blog is to share my experience.

Don't Bring Electronics

The immigration consultant who helped me gave me an advice: do not bring any kind of electronics (a.k.a. cellphones). The officers at the border reserve the right to ask you for your cellphone if they see it. They have the right to looking at their content. So, if you refuse to give it or you have on Facebook (or any other application) some content that could be misinterpreted (or not?) they can refuse your application.

So, don't bring electronics that could put your application at risk. I didn't bring any device, nor a book, it was the longest and boring waiting I have ever had.

Arriving at the Border to Apply for a Work Permit

You should know that not all Canada entry points are able to give you the work permit. So, I had to go to the closest one that has that service. The immigration consultant' suggested we should go to St-Armand/Philipsburg, so we went there. Sadly, my boss at that time couldn't make it earlier, so we arrive there at 19.00 hours. The first step was trying to pass to the United States. If I didn't have a VISA, therefore we told the US agent you don't have any intention to cross, that you need only to bounce back to get to Canada Immigration Office; they call this doing a pole flag. They gave me a white paper (administrative rejection I think), that paper is a must. I was about 1 hour in the US point waiting for this document.

When bouncing back, it was a little slow and we explained to all agents the same story. That we wanted to reach the Immigration Office for a Work Permit. At the end of the day, we got there.

The Big Waiting

When we got into the office, there was not too much to do. An agent asked me what was my business there, and I only said I was coming for a Work Permit. I gave the work permit package and waited.

It was a long wait, in my case, it was almost 3 hours.


When the big wait ended, the agent wanted to refuse my application. The big argument was that nobody was answering the telephone. Yes I know, we went very late, but we didn't know at that time what they do. Another argument was he claimed I was lying because I didn't see him in the eyes. I must say he was very rude but that guy was having all the power in his hand. I refused to talk him in French and he couldn't believe that I hold two master's (one of them done in France), finally at third argument was that my LinkedIn profile was not showing all information I gave in the application (since when a Government Entity uses Linkedin as a reliable source?)

Fortunately, my boss at that time was there. The agent was very aggressive.  After my boss identified himself as the employer, the agent started to change his attitude. Anyway, after a long discussion, my boss got a 1-year work permit.

Getting the Work Permit

Canadian Immigration Agent gave me my new work permit pasted in my passport. I only had to pay for the process there, at that time it was 155 CAD.

Good Luck!