Can I make a refugee claim in Canada?
Question & AnswerCan I make a refugee claim in Canada?
New IRCC refugee portal
You must make your refugee claim using the new online application system if you:
- are inside Canada, and
- are eligible to make a claim
You might also have to send information through this portal if a border services officer tells you to use it.
If your legal representative is submitting the claim for you, they must create an account and both of you must sign a Declaration form.
If you are submitting your own claim, you must create the account.
If you don't have a legal representative, it's important to get legal help.
If you're afraid to return to your home country, you may be able to make a refugee claim. To be accepted as a refugee in Canada, you must be either a:
- , or
To get refugee protection, you must go through a refugee claim process. The process depends on whether you make your refugee claim:
- inside Canada,
- at a port of entry, such as an airport, land border crossing, or marine port, or
- at the Canada-US border.
Port-of-Entry refugee claim flowchart
Learn how to make a refugee claim at an airport, marine port, or border
Most people who make a refugee claim have the right to a hearing at the Refugee Board. It can take some time before you have a hearing because of scheduling delays at the Refugee Board.
The Refugee Board decides if you meet the definition of a Convention refugee or a person in need of protection. If you meet the definition, your refugee claim will be accepted, you will become a , and you can apply to become a of Canada.
People who are not eligible
Some people are not eligible to make a refugee claim. You won't be able to make a claim if you:
- have a against you
- have Convention refugee status in another country that you can return to
- made a refugee claim in Canada in the past and it was rejected, withdrawn, or
- committed a serious crime or did something that broke human rights laws
- arrived from the United States, which Canada says is a safe third country and the rules apply to you
- arrived from a country that has an information sharing agreement with Canada and that country confirms that you already made a refugee claim there. The list of countries includes the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
Get legal help
If you want to make a refugee claim, you should get legal help as soon as possible. Refugee law is complicated. If you make a mistake on your application, you might not be able to stay in Canada.
And, if you're not eligible to make a refugee claim, a lawyer can tell you if there are ways you can delay your removal, apply for , or apply to stay in Canada permanently.