Apply – Refugee status from inside Canada

In general, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) will hear refugee claims within 60 days. If you come from a designated country of origin, they will process your asylum claim faster.

To apply for refugee status in Canada, follow these steps:

1. Decide where to 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. This means 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 IRB. If your claim is eligible you will:

  • be given a date for your IRB hearing, and
  • have 15 days to complete all forms in the application package and submit them to the IRB.

Apply at an IRCC office

You can make a refugee claim in Canada at certain Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) offices. If you choose to apply at an IRCC office, you:

  • must have all forms in the application package completed and with you.
  • will not be scheduled for an interview with an immigration officer until you show 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 need to give us information about:

  • your background
  • your family, and
  • 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. Go to a hearing

If you are eligible to make a refugee claim, you will have to go to a hearing at the 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 your hearing will start.

You must take all 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 support your refugee claim.

Find out how to prepare for your hearing in the IRB’s Claimant’s Guide.

The IRB will assess your claim and decide if you are given refugee status.

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