What happens when you claim asylum at the border?

Learn more about what happens when you claim asylum at an official border post or in-between official border posts.

If you claim asylum at an official border post: 

Get legal advice before you claim asylum at a Canadian border post. An immigration officer at the border will decide if you meet one of the exceptions under the Canada–U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA). Find out who can claim asylum at the border. 

 

What is the Canada–U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA)? 

The Canada–U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) is an agreement between Canada and the United States. Under the Agreement, you are required to request refugee protection in the first safe country you arrive in (either the United States or Canada), unless you qualify for an exception to the Agreement. 

 

If you claim asylum at the border in-between official border posts, here are the different steps you will go through: 

  1. You will be arrested by the police and questioned about your irregular entry.
  1. You will be brought to the nearest official border post. Bring your identity documents (passports, driver’s license, birth certificate, etc.) to prove your identity.
  1. You will fill out forms and officials from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) will interview you to determine whether you can claim asylum in Canada. Sometimes, this is done at a later date in the nearest main city. Find out who will decide whether your asylum claim is accepted or rejected.
  1. You might have to stay more than a day at the border. Bring basic items you might need during your wait (food and drinks, diapers, medication, etc.).
  1. You will be transported to the nearest main city. Transportation is usually free, but you might have to pay for transport or make your own travel arrangements (pick up by friends or family, taxi, etc.).

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

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