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

3. Go to your eligibility interview

If possible, get legal advice before your interview. A lawyer can:

  • make sure that the information you enter in the portal and your BOC are completed properly,
  • help you get the documents you need to prove your identity, and
  • help you prepare for your eligibility interview.

Your identity will be checked by national and international police to make sure that you're who you say you are and you're not a danger to Canada. This check does not involve contacting the authorities in your home country.

Your fingerprints will be checked to see if you have made a previous refugee claim in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom. You'll not be eligible to make a refugee claim if you arrived from one of these countries and IRCC has information that you already made a refugee claim in that country.

If this applies to you, get legal advice right away. You'll be able to apply for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA). 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 must be given an oral hearing with an immigration officer.

The officer might have a concern about your identity documents, or that you're not the person you say you are. If this happens, you might be detained at your eligibility interview while they check 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
  • whether you made a refugee claim in another country
  • why you decided to come to Canada when you did
  • whether you've committed any crimes in your country or any other countries

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 the information you gave in the portal, in your Basis of Claim (BOC) form, and what you say at your hearing.

Your refugee claim might not be accepted at your hearing if you give information at your eligibility interview that:

  • is not true
  • is different from other information in your immigration file
  • does not give enough detail

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

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