What’s the difference between a refugee claim and an H&C claim?Updated April 29

2. Learn who can’t make a refugee claim

The refugee claim process begins when you make a claim at:

If you make your claim at a port of entry, a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer interviews you and decides if you're eligible for a hearing with the (IRB).

If you plan to make a refugee claim from inside Canada, you must create an account to use the new online application system, also called the refugee portal. Follow the steps in this question.

When you’re not eligible to make a claim

There's more detailed information about the reasons why you might not be eligible to make a refugee claim in Can I make a refugee claim in Canada? Here are a few examples.

Safe third country rule

The safe third country rule applies to some people who make a refugee claim at a border crossing along Canada's land border with the United States.

This rule may stop you from being able to make a claim in Canada. It's meant to force people to make their refugee claim in the United States if they're eligible to do that.

But you can make your claim in Canada if you can show that one of the exceptions to the rule applies to you.

Once-in-a-lifetime rule

The law says that people can only ever make one refugee claim in Canada.

So if you already made a claim, you can't make another one.

Refugee claim in another country

You can't make a refugee claim in Canada if:

  • you were found to be a in another country, and
  • you can return to that country.

You also can't make a refugee claim in Canada if there is information that you made a refugee claim in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, or New Zealand. This is true even if one of those countries did not accept or make a decision about your claim. You will be able to make a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA), a written application where you explain why you're afraid to return to your country and you provide documents to support your fear.

Getting legal help

Before you make a refugee claim, get legal advice.

You could be detained at your eligibility interview if you don't have a valid immigration status and you’re not eligible to make a claim.

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