What is a Port of Entry letter?

Vimal Sivakumar
Published: March 9, 2024

Port of Entry (POE) letters are documents that some foreign nationals may receive if they have been permitted to enter Canada as a temporary resident (TR).

POE letters may be provided by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to foreign nationals who are approved for any of the following three TR permits/visas:

IRCC notes that only TRs who applied online for any of the three permit/visa types listed above and gave their email address in the application will receive a POE letter. Visitors to Canada, for instance, as well as other TR applicants, will not receive/do not need a POE letter to enter the country.

POE letters are issued to recipients through their online IRCC account. They permit entry to Canada by confirming the identity of the letter holder, authorizing the individual to enter Canada, and providing the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) with the information it needs to issue the applicable permit to the individual.

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In fact, according to IRCC, “if you do not have your POE Letter when you arrive at a Canadian port of entry, you will not get a ... permit.”

Note: A POE letter does not serve as a study or work permit.

The POE letter that a TR will receive is officially called a Port of Entry letter of introduction. However, this document may also be referred to as a correspondence letter, introduction letter and/or introductory letter.

Frequently asked questions about POE letters

What follows will answer three common questions that many foreign nationals have about POE letters.

How long is my POE letter valid?

According to IRCC, in all cases except for those regarding participants in the International Experience Canada (IEC) program (see more below), POE letters remain valid for “the requested length of [a temporary resident’s] work permit, study permit or super visa.”

It is possible to extend a standard work permit once a temporary resident arrives in Canada.

The validity period of each POE letter issued by IRCC will be noted in a box titled “permit validity” on the POE letter itself. This validity date indicates the deadline before which the POE letter recipient must come to Canada.

TRs who do not enter the country before the validity date on their letter must submit a new application to study in Canada, work in Canada or come to Canada on a super visa.

Note: The validity date on a POE letter cannot be extended.

IEC participants: POE letters issued to IEC participants are typically valid for 12 months. For IEC participants who undergo a medical exam, the POE letter they receive will be valid for either 12 months or their medical exam expires, whichever is sooner.

What do I do with my POE letter once I arrive in Canada?

Upon arriving at a port of entry in Canada, temporary residents with a POE letter must inform an immigration officer about their approved application. At this time, TRs can present either:

  • A printed copy of their POE letter
  • An electronic version of their POE letter
  • The visitor visa in their passport (if they have one)

What happens if I lose, delete or damage my POE letter?

Lost, damaged or deleted POE letters can be handled by using IRCC’s webform to ask the department to resend your letter to you.

IRCC notes that online POE letter applicants will usually receive their resent letter through their IRCC account. Additionally, temporary residents who cannot access or link to their original application in their IRCC account must be sure to let IRCC know that when they reach out to the department through the web form.

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