What happens at my refugee hearing?

5. Get a decision

There are guidelines that explain what Board members should think about when making decisions about claimants from certain groups. These groups include:

  • refugees fearing civil war
  • child refugee claimants
  • women refugee claimants fearing gender-related persecution
  • vulnerable people
  • people making claims based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression

If you belong to one of these groups, it's a good idea to review these guidelines before your hearing.

Sometimes the Board member will tell you at the end of your hearing whether they accept or reject your refugee claim. They will also tell you their reasons. But if the Board member wants more time to review the before making the decision, they will mail you a written decision with reasons after the hearing.

Your claim is accepted

If your refugee claim is accepted, the Refugee Board will send you a written Notice of Decision. The notice usually includes the reasons why your claim was accepted.

The Refugee Board will also send the decision to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). The government might appeal the decision.

If the government doesn't appeal the decision within 15 days, you will have status. This means you won't be removed from Canada and you can:

Your claim is rejected

If your refugee claim is rejected, the Refugee Board will send you a written Notice of Decision with the reasons why your claim wasn't accepted.

You might be able to appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD). You must file your Notice of Appeal within 15 calendar days of receiving your Notice of Decision. Even if the Member made the negative decision at your hearing, wait until you receive the written decision and then file a Notice of Appeal within 15 days.

If you're not eligible to appeal to the RAD, you can ask the Federal Court to review the decision. This is called asking for a judicial review.

You should get legal help right away if you want to appeal to the RAD or ask the Federal Court for a judicial review. A lawyer can help you understand your options and the rules, and decide the best way to proceed within the time limits.

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