What happens after you claim asylum?

The first stage of the asylum process is the eligibility interview. After claiming asylum, government officials will conduct an interview to verify your identity, perform a security screening and determine if you are eligible to have your case assessed by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB).

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  • Made a previous claim in Canada that was rejected, abandoned, withdrawn or found ineligible.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 an official land border post at the Canada-United States border – unless you qualify for an exception under the STCA.
  • Made an asylum claim in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand.

You can find the complete 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):

  • Passport
  • 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 an important document that you will need to fill out, which will be used as evidence during the review of your asylum claim.

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.

Be aware that there is a deadline to submit the BOC form. You can find more information about the BOC on the IRB’s website and on current deadlines here.

The IRB will evaluate your application through a hearing to decide if you qualify for refugee protection in Canada. All hearings are virtual, except for urgent and particularly sensitive cases, which IRB will hear in person. You can find more information about hearings on the IRB’s website.

If you are a refugee claimant preparing for your hearing, get ready with the Kinbrace Refugee Hearing Preparation Guide, a collaborative initiative developed in 11 languages for each region of Canada.

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 the 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.