The first stage of the asylum process is the eligibility determination. After claiming asylum, government officials will verify your identity, perform a security screening and conduct an interview to determine if you are eligible to have your case referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB), the tribunal responsible for making decisions on refugee matters.
Your asylum claim may not be eligible to be referred to the IRB if, for example, you:
- made a previous claim in Canada that was rejected, abandoned, withdrawn or found ineligible;
- have been recognized as a Convention refugee by another country that you can return to without fear;
- made a claim at the Canadian land border – unless you qualify for an exception under the Safe Third country Agreement (STCA);
- made a previous asylum claim in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand.
You can find the full list of ineligibility reasons on the government’s website.
If you come to Canada to claim asylum, identification is required for you and your accompanying family members to prove who you are and show how you are related. You can prove who you are by presenting to the authorities any of the following identity documents (original or copies):
- Driver’s license
- National identity card
- Birth certificate (including the children’s birth certificates)
- Marriage certificate
- Any other relevant document
You must fully cooperate to facilitate your asylum process by:
- Answering questions from the Canadian authorities.
- Explaining to Canadian authorities how you arrived in Canada.
- Showing Canadian authorities any documents used during travel, whether genuine or falsified.
- Providing documents that prove your identity.
Not cooperating with the Canadian authorities by destroying or hiding identity documents will delay establishing your identity and may place you at risk of being detained.
If your claim is eligible:
If you are found eligible to make an asylum claim, your file will be referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). The IRB is an independent administrative tribunal responsible for making decisions on refugee matters. The IRB will evaluate your fear of persecution and decide whether you can be recognized as a refugee in Canada.
The Basis of Claim (BOC) form is a very important document that you will need to fill out before your hearing, which will be used as evidence.
The BOC form is where you give information about yourself and explain why you are afraid to go back to your home country. For example, you must give details about what happened to you in your country, whether you asked the authorities to protect you in your country, whether you moved to another part of your country to find safety and why you decided to leave at that time. It is important to tell the truth, and you should get legal help to fill out the form.
If you are already in Canada and are initiating your asylum claim from within Canada (not at a port of entry), you will have to submit your BOC form when you submit your asylum claim online through the portal.
If you made an asylum claim at a port of entry (airport, land border), be aware that there is a deadline to submit the BOC form. It is due within 45 days from the day on which your eligibility examination is completed and you are given your Refugee Protection Claim Document (“brown paper” with your photo on it). You can find more information about the BOC on the IRB’s website.
It is strongly recommended to fill out the BOC with the assistance of a lawyer.
During the hearing, the IRB will evaluate your application to decide if you qualify for refugee protection in Canada. All hearings are virtual by default, except for urgent and particularly sensitive cases, which will be heard in-person. You can find more information about the hearing on the IRB’s .
In specific circumstances, the IRB may accept a claim for refugee protection without a hearing through a paper-based review. You can find more information about file-review process on the IRB’s website.
If your claim is not eligible to be referred to the IRB:
You may have access, in some cases, to apply for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA). Through this process, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will evaluate your fear of persecution and decide whether you can be recognized as a refugee in Canada.