Can I have my refugee claim joined and heard at the same hearing as someone else?

2. Complete your Basis of Claim form

If you claim refugee protection with your family, either you or your spouse or common-law partner must complete a Basis of Claim (BOC) form as the Principal Claimant.

The Principal Claimant is the person who describes their experiences and fears to show that they meet the definition of a or .

Other family members usually base their refugee claim on the Principal Claimant's experiences and fears. Family members might also have other reasons that they are afraid to go back to their home country based on their age, gender, or personal experiences. For example, young girls might fear forced marriage.

Each family member, including children, must complete their own BOC. Each claimant will get their own decision.

If your child is 6 years old or younger, you only need to complete the “Who you are” section on page 2 of their BOC. If your child is older than 6 years, you must complete all the sections of their BOC.

Children refugee claimants

The Refugee Board has guidelines that say that Board members must consider the best interests of the child when dealing with refugee claims of children under 18 years old.

Each decision will depend on the details of the case. For example, the Board should look at the child's age, gender, cultural background, and past experiences.

The Refugee Board will appoint a Designated Representative for all refugee claimants under 18 years old. The Designated Representative is usually the Principal Claimant or spouse. If the child is not accompanied by a parent, or if there is a conflict within the family, the Board will appoint a Designated Representative outside of the family such as a lawyer or a social worker.

Vulnerable people

The Refugee Board has guidelines to help vulnerable claimants present their claims and reduce the chance that they will be traumatized by the process. If you have experienced intimate partner violence, you might be a vulnerable person.

You can apply to the Refugee Board to ask for procedural accommodations at least 10 days before the hearing.

Procedural accommodations means holding your hearing in a way that might help you feel more comfortable to testify. For example, you can ask to bring a support person to the hearing with you, or your lawyer may be allowed to ask you questions first, before the Board member. You usually have to include medical or psychological to support your request.

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