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

4. Find out what happens if you’re not eligible

You won't be eligible to make a refugee claim from inside Canada if you:

  • have a against you
  • have status in another country that you can return to
  • made a refugee claim in Canada before and it was rejected, withdrawn, or
  • committed a serious crime or did something that broke human rights laws
  • arrived from a country that has an information sharing agreement with Canada and you already made a refugee claim in that country. The list of countries includes the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

In most cases, if you're not eligible to make a refugee claim, you will be removed from Canada.

But, you might 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.

If you're not eligible to make a refugee claim because you already made a claim in a country that has an information sharing agreement with Canada, you will be able to apply for a PRRA. Unlike other PRRA applicants, you must be given an oral hearing with an immigration officer. If this is your situation, get legal advice right away.

Removal from Canada

If you're not eligible for a PRRA, you will need to leave Canada as soon as your removal order takes effect. This will happen 7 days after the immigration officer decides you're not eligible to make a refugee claim.

But you might not be removed right away if:

  • it takes time to confirm your identity or to get a travel document for you, or
  • people are not being sent back to your country because of the conditions there. You can learn more about  Administrative Deferral of Removals (ADR) and Temporary Suspension of Removals (TSR) on CBSA’s website.

The immigration officer might schedule an interview with you to discuss arrangements for your removal. It's important to cooperate with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). If you don't attend a removal interview or your scheduled removal, the CBSA will issue a Canada-wide warrant for your arrest. If you're arrested, you can be detained until you're removed.

If you can't afford the cost of your travel for your removal, CBSA will pay. You will have to repay that debt if you want to apply to return to Canada in the future.

If you make your own travel arrangements, confirm your departure at your port of exit by getting a “Certificate of Departure” from the CBSA. The Certificate proves that you left Canada. This is important if you want to return to Canada, even as a visitor.

The Certificate of Departure is also important if you have a bondsperson. With the Certificate, the bondsperson can apply for a refund of the money they paid to have you released from detention.

If you want to return to Canada after being removed by the CBSA, you might need to apply for an Authorization to Return to Canada.

Risk of detention

You might be detained while arrangements are being made for you to be removed from Canada.

You have the right to know the reason you're being detained. You also have the right to a hearing within 48 hours of being detained and the right to hire a legal representative.

You should talk to a lawyer right away. A lawyer can tell you if there are ways you can delay your removal, apply for PRRA, or apply to stay in Canada permanently.

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