Destining and travel arrangements: Issuing visas and travel documents

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Privately sponsored refugees

When the private sponsorship period is extended, officers should place the exact duration of the sponsorship period on the IMM 5292.

Requirements for refugee travel

Persons considered to be refugees may be unable to get a passport or may fear applying for one. Refugees without travel documents risk being mistaken for improperly documented passengers.

To facilitate refugee travel, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) staff or officers may accompany refugees to the airport to assist in dealings with:

  • airline check-in staff; and
  • host-country immigration officials.

Refugees without travel documents who must transit through foreign airports may encounter difficulties with immigration authorities. If officers expect that a refugee will encounter such difficulties, they may ask the visa office responsible for the transit point to inform airline staff and immigration officials that refugees without passports but holding one of the travel documents listed below are indeed properly documented.

Travel documents

Refugee travel documents may be:

ICRC travel documents

If a refugee does not possess a valid travel document or cannot travel with just a permanent resident visa, they can be referred to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who may issue a travel document to facilitate the journey. Refugees may also need exit permits or transit visas, which must be affixed to the ICRC travel document.

Local ICRC offices receive applications for ICRC travel documents. Applicants must submit an application form, photographs and fingerprints. As the ICRC travel document has a maximum validity of three months, applicants should wait until they meet all other immigration requirements before requesting it.

ICRC does not verify identity and the travel document is not secure. It is not intended to replace national passports or travel documents. Officers should agree with the local ICRC office on guidelines for requesting this document and only do so when necessary.

UNHCR “Provisional Travel Certificate”

In exceptional circumstances, the UNHCR may issue a “Provisional Travel Certificate.” Such documents are given in extraordinary circumstances when no other travel document can be obtained by the refugee. They are single-use documents and they usually serve to provide the country from which the refugee is leaving with a document on which to place an exit visa.

Single Journey Travel Document (SJTD) for Resettlement to Canada (IMM 5485)

In the case of refugees who are stateless, or cannot otherwise obtain passports from their countries of nationality, some form of documentation is required in which to affix the counterfoil and to facilitate travel to Canada. The IMM 5485 serves as travel identification for refugees requiring additional documentation for travel to Canada.. The document should be used in specific refugee and refugee-like situations when the person:

  • possesses no other acceptable passport or travel document and cannot, in a reasonable time, obtain an acceptable travel document; and
  • is a member of a class prescribed by Division 1 (Refugee classes) of Part 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

The Single Journey Travel Document is not issued to persons who reside in their own country of nationality (for example, OYW applicants) except under exceptional circumstances.

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