4. Go to your eligibility interview

At your eligibility interview, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officer will ask you questions and review your documents to decide if you meet an exception to the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA).

If you say you meet the family member exception to the STCA, the officer might contact your family member, review records about their immigration history, or search for your family member online or in the phonebook to get more information.

The officer will check your identity documents, take your fingerprints, and photograph you. Your identity will be checked by national and international police to make sure that you are who you say you are and you're not a danger to Canada.

You might be detained at your eligibility interview while the officer checks your identity.

If the STCA does not apply to you, the officer then decides if you meet all the other requirements to make a refugee claim.

The officer will likely ask you questions about your refugee claim, including:

  • why you left your country
  • what happened to you
  • what you fear will happen to you if you return to your country
  • how you came to Canada
  • if you made a refugee claim in the United States or any other country
  • why you decided to come to Canada when you did

The officer will usually make notes during the interview. They should give you a copy of their notes. A copy is also sent to the Refugee Board to be included as part of your case. The notes will be compared to the information you include in your refugee claim forms and what you say at your hearing.

Your refugee claim might not be accepted if you do things like:

  • give information that is different from other information in your immigration file
  • give information that's not true
  • don't give enough details

It's important to answer questions truthfully and as clearly as you can. Tell the officer if you don't understand a question or you if don't know the answer.


Ask for an interpreter if you need one. Your ability to speak English or French is not important for your refugee claim. But it's important that you understand the questions being asked and what's included in the forms you sign. Everything you say might be recorded and included as part of your case.

If you need an interpreter at your interview, the CBSA can provide one. If you can't understand the interpreter, or if you have other concerns about the interpretation, tell the officer as soon as possible. Don't wait until after the interview to raise these concerns.

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