What happens after I apply?

Step 1: Eligibility Interview

After claiming asylum at the border or in Canada, government officials will conduct an interview to decide if you are eligible to have your case considered by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). Your asylum claim may not be eligible to be referred to the IRB for a hearing if you:

  • have been recognized as a Convention refugee by another country that you can return to.
  • have already been granted protected person status in Canada.
  • arrived via the Canada-United States border.
  • are not admissible to Canada on security grounds, or because of criminal activity or human rights violations.
  • made a previous refugee claim that was not found eligible.
  • made a previous refugee claim that was rejected by the IRB.
  • abandoned or withdrew a previous refugee claim.

If you claim asylum at an official point of entry (airport, land border), officials will help you fill out application forms, and if you are found eligible to go on to the next stage, you will be given a very important document called the Basis of Claim (BOC) form that is to be submitted to the Immigration and Refugee Board 15 calendar days after you have initially made your asylum claim.   The BOC form requires very basic biographical information but also needs to include reasons why you are afraid to go back to your home country, why the police in your country are not able or not willing to help you and why you can’t move to another part of your country to be safe. It is very important that you request the help from a lawyer to fill in the BOC form.

To claim asylum inside Canada (instead of at an official point of entry), you must go to the appropriate Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) office with all your asylum application forms, including the BOC, already completed. To find more information about Canada’s in-country asylum claim process please visit the following website. Again, it is strongly recommended that you get help from a lawyer to complete the application documents before submitting them.

You may have also heard about coming into Canada across the border, but not at an official entry point. If you cross the border in this way, you will be arrested, and will then go through the eligibility process. Make sure you understand Canada’s asylum system by contacting a legal aid office, a lawyer or one of resources that are listed on this website. Canada protects asylum-seekers and refugees. People who are refused refugee protection will be returned to their country of origin by the Canadian government. If you are refused refugee protection you should get legal advice about your options. It is encouraged that you make an asylum claim at an official point of entry to Canada and abide by Canadian law.

Step 2: Referral to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB)

Once you are found eligible to make an asylum claim, your file is referred to the IRB for a hearing to decide if you qualify for refugee protection in Canada. The IRB is an independent tribunal and is responsible for refugee status decisions in Canada.

Before your hearing you will have to submit evidence to support your case. Supporting evidence could consist of a wide range of documents or information. This could be for example a medical note showing that you received medical help after suffering injuries in your country, a membership card to a political organization, or a testimony from friends, family or other persons in the form of a letter, or specific information detailed in for instance a news article or report that supports your case. It is highly recommended that you request legal advice and/or assistance with this process. Legal aid providers in the province you reside may help you find and pay for a lawyer. Please see this link for more information on how to prepare for your refugee hearing.

Step 3: Decision is received

If you receive a positive decision to your asylum claim and you are granted a refugee status, you can apply for permanent residence in Canada. For more information about this application please visit this website.

If your asylum claim is refused you have a right to appeal the decision. You will have 15 calendar days to notify the Refugee Appeal Division of the IRB or the Federal Court of Canada that you want to appeal the negative asylum decision so that your claim is considered a second instance. It is important to ask for advice from a lawyer to make sure that your appeal is submitted correctly and to the corresponding institution. For more information about this process and where you should file your appeal, please visit the following website.