In general, refugee claims will be heard by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) within 60 days. Note that if you come from a designated country of origin, your asylum claim will be processed faster.
To apply for refugee status in Canada, follow these steps:
1. Determine where you will apply
There are two ways to apply for refugee status in Canada:
Apply at a port of entry
You can apply for refugee status at any port of entry, such as an airport, seaport or land border.
The officer you make your refugee claim to will decide if your claim is eligible to be referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). If your claim is eligible:
- You will be given a date for your IRB hearing.
- You will have fifteen (15) days to complete all of the forms in the application package and submit them to the IRB.
Apply at a CIC office
You can make a refugee claim in Canada at designated CIC offices. If you choose to apply at a CIC office, note that:
- You must have all of the forms in the application package completed and with you.
- You will not be scheduled for an interview with an immigration officer until you show CIC in person that you have completed all the forms.
If the officer decides that your refugee claim is eligible, you will be given a date for your IRB hearing.
2. Get the application package
To apply, you have to provide information about your background, your family, and the reason why you want to make a claim for refugee protection. You do this by completing the forms in the application package.
The application package includes the application guide and all the forms you need to fill out.
3. Appear for a hearing
If you are eligible to make a refugee claim, you will have to attend a hearing at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB).
The officer will tell you the date and time for your hearing and will give you a Notice to Appear for a Hearing. This notice will tell you:
- where to go for the hearing
- the time you must show up
- the time when your hearing will start
You must take all of your identity documents with you to your hearing. This includes your passport, driver’s licence and any other documents which may prove your identity or which may support your refugee claim.
Read the “Prepare for your Hearing” section in IRB’s Claimant’s Guide for more information about the hearing process.
The IRB will assess your claim and decide if you are given refugee status.
Legal assistance for refugees
Protecting Canada’s Immigration System
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