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Refugees and Asylum in Canada- How to make a Claim

Updated: Jun 30, 2020

How are claims actually initiated?






I am outside of Canada and want to make a claim for protection, how do I do it?

If you are outside of Canada, you may contact the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) for more information about obtaining refugee protection and resettlement.


I am on my way to Canada and want to make a claim when I arrive, how do I do it?

Upon your arrival to the port of entry to enter Canada, you may advise the Canadian border officer that you are seeking to make a refugee claim. You will be interviewed by the officer and be asked to fill out a series of application forms (more on the application forms below).


What is the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement?

Under the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement, refugee claimants are required to request refugee protection in the first safe country they arrive in, unless they qualify for an exception. The Safe Third Country Agreement applies only to refugee claimants who are seeking entry to Canada from the US: 1) at Canada-US land border crossings, 2) by train, or 3) at airports (only if the person seeking refugee protection in Canada has been refused refugee status in the US and is in transit through Canada after being deported from the US).


I am already in Canada and I wish to make a claim for refugee protection, how do I do it?

You will need to complete the application forms (more on the forms below) and go to an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (“IRCC”) office to make an application. In general, appointments are not necessary but it is always a good idea to go as early in the day as possible as the queues in these offices can be quite lengthy. The office in Vancouver, BC is located at 1148 Hornby Street in downtown Vancouver.


I would like a lawyer to represent me and to assist me with my claim, but I am concerned about the financial burden, what do I do?

The Legal Services Society of British Columbia can help. They can be reached at: https://lss.bc.ca or by telephone at: 1-866-577-2525 / 604-408-2172 (Greater Vancouver).

They will assess you to determine whether you qualify for legal aid.


You mentioned application forms?

At the time of this post, the application forms and supporting documents required to initiate a claim are:

1. Application forms:

1. IMM 0008 Generic Application Form for Canada;

2. IMM 00008DEP Additional Dependants / Declaration (if applicable);

3. IMM 5669 Schedule A – Background / Declaration;

4. IMM 0008 SCH 12 – Additional Information – Refugee Claimants inside Canada;

5. Basis of Claim form; and

6. IMM 5476 Use of a Representative (if applicable);

2. Originals of all identity and relationship documents;

3. Translations of your documents to English or French;

4. Passport-sized photographs of yourself; and

5. Any other document that supports your claim.

It is important that your application forms are filled out correctly, accurately, and as comprehensively as possible. The information provided in these forms will be used to ascertain various details of your claim; for example, whether your personal history provided in IMM 5669 corresponds to the details in your Basis of Claim form. It is, accordingly, advisable to obtain legal assistance to help you complete these forms before going to IRCC.


My story is very long, what do I do?

You can make attachments to the forms as necessary. If you forget to include certain details that are important to your claim, you can disclose those details to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada either before or during your hearing. If you are represented by a lawyer, your lawyer will assist you in this process.


What happens when I go to IRCC?

You will need to go to the IRCC office twice, the first time to file your application, and the second for an eligibility interview. Your second interview will be scheduled by the officer who handles your application when you go to IRCC the first time. You will be given a pink slip that has the date and time of your eligibility interview.


At your eligibility interview, an officer will ask you questions to determine whether you are eligible to make a claim. These generally involve questions about your identity, history, and the basis of your claim. What you say during the interview will be compared to your application forms and your supporting documents.


During the course of these questions, the officer may make changes to your application forms (where appropriate) or add a new question to the form for you to answer (for example by stamping new questions onto your form).


At the end of the interview, you will be asked to have your photograph and fingerprints taken.


What if I do not speak English or French well?

If you are unable to communicate in either English or French, you should bring someone to interpret for you when you go to IRCC for the first time. An interpreter will be arranged by IRCC for the eligibility interview.



The foregoing content is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice or an opinion of any kind. Readers of this website are advised to seek specific legal advice by contacting members of Titan Law Corporation (or their own legal counsel) regarding any specific legal issues. Titan Law Corporation does not warrant or guarantee the quality, accuracy, or completeness of any information on this website. The articles published on this website are current as of their original date of publication, but should not be relied upon as accurate, timely, or fit for any particular purpose. This website does not create a lawyer-client relationship.

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