What happens if I make a refugee claim when I arrive in Canada?
Question & AnswerWhat happens if I make a refugee claim when I arrive in Canada?
3. Find out what happens if you’re eligible
If the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer decides that you're eligible to make a refugee claim, you'll be allowed to stay in Canada until your claim is decided by the Refugee Board. The officer will ask you to sign a document that includes conditions. For example, that you:
- provide your address information to the CBSA, IRCC, and Refugee Board before you move, and
- show up for appointments, hearing dates, and for your removal from Canada if your refugee claim and any appeals you make are not successful.
The officer will complete the following application forms with you:
- Generic Application Form for Canada
- Additional Dependents/Declaration (if applicable)
- Schedule A – Background/Declaration
- Schedule 12 – Additional Information – Refugee Claimants Inside Canada
If you want to work in Canada after making your refugee claim, make sure you check the type of permit you need at Question 10 on the Schedule 12 Form.
You will have 15 days after the interview to complete the Basis of Claim (BOC) Form.
The officer will also give you a “Confirmation of Referral” Form. The form confirms your claim will be sent to the Refugee Board to decide if you're a Convention Refugee or a . The form contains important information, including:
- the deadline to send your BOC form
- the date you will have an abandonment hearing if your BOC Form is not submitted on time
The Confirmation of Referral does not include a hearing date. When your hearing is scheduled the Refugee Board sends you a Notice to Appear, with the date, time, and location. The Board will send this notice at least 20 days before the hearing. The Notice will come by mail, so it is very important to update your address information with the CBSA, IRCC, and Refugee Board if you move.
The officer will give you a copy of your passport and other identity documents. They keep the originals until after the hearing.
The officer will also give you a “Refugee Claimant document” and an “Interim Federal Health Certificate of Eligibility.” These documents allow you to get health care, social assistance, and enroll your children in school while you're waiting for your hearing. You will also receive a list of doctors and a medical information form. You must schedule a medical examination within 30 days of your interview.
Some claims are referred for a file review process, which used to be called expedited processing. This allows the Refugee Board to decide certain claims without a hearing. Or, some claims may be referred for a shorter hearing. This allows the Refugee Board to hear some claims in 2 hours or less.
Get legal help
If you didn't get legal help from a lawyer to complete your forms before the interview, a lawyer should still review your forms and documents before your hearing, if possible.
A lawyer can review your documents to make sure the information you provide is accurate. They can also make sure that any previous mistakes or inconsistencies are explained to reduce the risk they will be used against you at your refugee hearing.
A lawyer can also help you understand what you should try to get and how to start preparing for your hearing.