Resettlement from outside Canada

Determine your eligibility

To come to Canada as a refugee, you must be referred. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), a designated referral organization, or a private sponsorship group can refer you. You cannot apply directly to us as a refugee.

To be referred, you must fall into one of these two refugee classes.

1) Convention refugee abroad class

You may be in this class if you:

  • are outside your home country,
  • cannot return there due to a well-founded fear of persecution based on
    • race
    • religion
    • political opinion
    • nationality, or
    • membership in a particular social group. Examples: gender, sexual orientation, etc.

Convention refugees can be sponsored by:

You can also be a Convention refugee if you have the funds needed to support yourself and your family after you arrive in Canada. You will still need the UNHCR, a referral organization, or a private sponsorship group to refer you.

2) Country of asylum class

You may be in this class if you:

  • are outside your home country, or the country where you normally live, and
  • have been seriously affected by civil war or armed conflict, or
  • have been denied basic human rights on an ongoing basis.

Country of asylum class refugees can be privately sponsored. You can also be in this class if you have the funds you need to support yourself and your family after you arrive in Canada. You will still need the UNHCR, a referral organization, or a private sponsorship group to refer you.

How to apply

If you are referred, you will need to fill out the application package to apply as a Convention refugee or as a humanitarian-protected person abroad. You will need to pass a medical exam and security and criminal check.

Note: The province of Quebec selects its own refugees. Find out about Quebec’s procedures for selecting refugees abroad.

Who is not eligible?

You are not eligible if:

  • you have another stable option for protection, such as an offer to be resettled in another country,
  • you become a citizen of another country, which will then protect you,
  • you choose to return to the country you left, or
  • the reasons you left your country no longer exist.

Top questions about coming to Canada as a privately sponsored refugee

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