Canadas asylum system

If you fear persecution in your country or at risk of cruel and inhuman treatment or torture, you can claim refugee protection in Canada.

How to make your asylum claim 

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Are you in the United States and thinking of crossing into Canada irregularly (in-between official border posts)?

You will be arrested by the police and questioned about your entry. You can claim asylum and will then be transferred to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Canada’s law enforcement agency responsible for border control. Officials will do a security screening, verify your identity and interview you to decide if your claim can be referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). Find out what happens when you claim asylum at the border. 

Canadian authorities will determine if your refugee claim can be referred to the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). Find out who will decide whether your asylum claim is accepted or rejected

Are you already in Canada?

You can claim asylum at an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) office by completing all the necessary forms, including the Basis of Claim form. Officials will do a security screening, verify your identity and interview you to decide if your claim can be referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), an independent administrative tribunal responsible for making decisions on refugee matters and a federal institution that operates at arm’s length from the Government of Canada. 

Are you entering Canada by airport, seaport or official border post?

You can claim asylum at the point of entry with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Canada’s law enforcement agency responsible for border control. Officials will do a security screening, verify your identity and interview you to decide if your claim can be referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). Find out who can claim asylum at the border.   

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If your refugee claim is not referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB)

If your claim is not eligible to be referred to the IRB, you may have access to another process called the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA), which will be conducted by an immigration officer from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). IRCC may recognize you as a refugee. 

If not, you may ask the Federal Court to review the decision. If the review is successful, your case will be sent back to the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the IRB for review. If rejected at the Federal Court, you may be removed from Canada. 

If Canadian authorities have determined that you cannot claim asylum in Canada based on security concerns, criminality, or other criteria, you may be removed from Canada. Find out more information about grounds for ineligibility on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website and seek legal advice if you have any questions. 

If your refugee claim is referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB)

The IRB will evaluate your fear of persecution and decide whether you qualify for refugee protection in Canada. 

If you are not recognized by the IRB as a refugee, you can appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) of the IRB if eligible to prove that the decision made was incorrect. If your appeal is successful, you will either be recognized as refugee or your case will be sent back to the IRB for review.  

If your appeal is rejected, you should seek legal assistance and ask the Federal Court to review the decision no later than 15 days after receiving your decision. If the review is successful, your case will be sent back to the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) of the IRB.  

If you are rejected at the Federal Court, you may be removed from Canada. 

If you are not eligible to appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) of the IRB, you should seek legal assistance and ask the Federal Court to review the decision. If the review is successful, your case will be sent back to the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the IRB for review. If rejected at the Federal Court, you may be removed from Canada. 

Download a PDF version of this document in EnglishFrançaisEspañolعربي or Kreyòl. 

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