What evidence do I need for my refugee hearing?

5. Give your evidence to the Refugee Board

You must file copies of all your documents and a list of any witnesses to the closest registry office at least 10 days before your hearing. If you miss the time limit, get legal help right away. Sometimes a time limit can be extended but it doesn’t happen often.

Make sure your documents meet the Refugee Board’s requirements. All documents should be on standard letter-size paper and the pages should be numbered. Include a list or index of all the documents, numbered in order. You can use the List of Claimant’s Documents form that has your name and address, the date, your file number, and a list of all your documents and their page numbers.

To file your documents, you can:  

  • take the documents to the Refugee Board yourself
  • mail the documents
  • have a courier deliver the documents
  • fax the documents if you have no more than 20 pages in total

You can’t file your documents by email. But if you have a lawyer or legal representative, they can file documents for you by mail, courier, or electronically.

Keep the originals of all your documents and bring them to your hearing. If you can’t get an original of any document, be prepared to explain why at the hearing.

If you receive documents in the mail, keep the envelopes. The Board member might want to see the envelopes to understand where the documents came from, who sent them to you and when they were sent.

Late documents

Sometimes it’s not possible to get all your documents before the 10-day deadline. If you receive a document after the deadline, you can still ask the Refugee Board to accept it.

You should include a letter that explains what you did to try to get the document on time, why the document is late, and, if possible, proof of when you received it. You should also explain why the document is important for the Refugee Board to consider. Be prepared to talk about all of this at your hearing.

Notice from CBSA or IRCC

After you submit your Basis of Claim form, you might get a notice that Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) or Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will participate in your hearing.

You usually get a notice if:

  • CBSA believes you should not get refugee protection because you’ve been involved in a serious crime or broke human rights laws, or
  • IRCC thinks you’re not telling the truth or they believe you used false documents.

If you get a notice, you must:

  1. File copies of your documents with CBSA or IRCC before you file them with the Refugee Board.
  2. Include a written statement that explains how and when you filed copies with CBSA or IRCC.

The CBSA or IRCC must give you a copy of the evidence they’re relying on. You must receive the evidence at least 10 days before your hearing.

Make sure you read the documents carefully. If there is important information that is different from your story or is incorrect, you can send additional documents to the Refugee Board that help explain this. You must send this additional information at least 5 days before your hearing.

If CBSA or IRCC is taking part in your hearing, it’s very important to get legal help.

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