What happens if I make a refugee claim from inside Canada?

2. Go to your eligibility interview

If possible, get legal advice before your interview. A lawyer can make sure your forms are completed properly, help you get the documents you need to prove your identity, and help you prepare for your eligibility interview.

At your eligibility interview, the immigration officer will check your identity documents, take your fingerprints, and photograph you.  

Your identity will be checked by national and international police to make sure that you are who you say you are and you're not a danger to Canada.

Your fingerprints will be checked to see if you have made a previous refugee claim in another country, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. You will not be eligible to make a refugee claim if you arrived from one of these countries and you already made a refugee claim in that country. If this applies to you, get legal advice right away. You will be able to make a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA), and unlike other PRRA applicants, you must be given an oral hearing with an immigration officer. A PRRA is a written application where you explain why you're afraid to return to your country and you provide documents to support your fear.

You might be detained at your eligibility interview while the officer checks your identity.

The officer will likely ask you questions about your refugee claim, including:

  • why you left your country
  • what happened to you
  • what you fear will happen to you if you return to your country
  • how you came to Canada
  • if you made a refugee claim in another country
  • why you decided to come to Canada when you did

The officer will usually make notes during the interview. They should give you a copy of their notes. A copy is also sent to the Refugee Board to be included as part of your case. The notes will be compared to what you include in your refugee claim forms and what you say at your hearing.

Your refugee claim might not be accepted if you do things like:

  • give information that is different from other information in your immigration file
  • give information that is not true
  • don't give enough details

It's important to answer questions truthfully and as clearly as you can. Tell the officer if you don't understand a question or if you don't know the answer.

Interpreters

Ask for an interpreter if you need one. Your ability to speak English or French is not important for your refugee claim. But it's important that you understand the questions being asked and what is being written in your forms. Everything you say may be recorded and included as part of your case. 

If you need an interpreter at your interview, IRCC can provide one. If you can't understand the interpreter, or if you have other concerns about the interpretation, tell the officer as soon as possible. Don't wait until after the interview to raise these concerns.

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