3. Learn who can’t make a refugee claim

Can I make a refugee claim in Canada if I’m coming from the U.S.?
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3. Learn who can’t make a refugee claim

You won’t be eligible to make a refugee claim if you arrive from the US at a location where the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) applies and you don’t meet an exception. Instead, you will be taken back to the US.

If the STCA doesn't apply to you or you meet an exception to the STCA, then you likely will be allowed to enter Canada. But you still won’t be eligible to make a refugee claim if you:

  • have a removal order against you
  • have Convention refugee status in another country that you can return to
  • made a refugee claim in Canada before and it was rejected, withdrawn, or abandoned
  • 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 CBSA officer decides you’re not eligible to make a refugee claim.

If you want to return to Canada after being removed, you might need to apply for an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) depending on the type of removal order you receive and how much time has passed.

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

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Government of Canada
Reviewed: July 11, 2019

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