1) How to apply for refugee protection from Inside Canada?
You have two options to apply for refugee protection from inside Canada:
You have the option to Apply at your port of Entry/arrival area when you arrive at the border.
And you also have the option to enter Canada first and then apply for protection from inside Canada.
Details of both programs are coming next.
Apply for protection at your port of Entry/arrival area when you arrive at the border
You can apply for protection at arrival when you arrive at any port of entry. Since you are facing a CBSA officer first, therefore, your immigration process will start with the public safety ministry, therefore, your process may take longer and you may also be requested to appear for several interviews with several border services or security intelligence services officers before your refugee determination process even starts. Once they are satisfied you are not a risk to Canada, then they will give you application forms to complete and submit them spontaneously. Once they decide that your claim is eligible, then they will issue you a refugee protection claimant document and refer you to the ministry responsible for immigration matters called IRCC. Please mention to the CBSA officer that you need a work permit if you are not rich and have to apply for it together with your refugee claim. Though you will not get a work permit on the spot, they will mail you one to your address, this will make your work permit process a little faster. You will also be instructed by the CBSA officer to submit the remaining form which is called the Basis of Claim Form and support documents to a specific local IRCC office. Your passport, IDs and other important documents may also be confiscated by the CBSA officers.
Considering all these steps, it is advisable not to start your refugee protection claim at the border if you have a choice, meaning you are not apprehended or not instructed by a CBSA officer to do so. Instead, go for option 2 which is coming up next.
Apply for protection Online After Entering Canada
Since you are free, first find a refugee lawyer or consultant who is experienced in your country-of-origin cases. It is highly advisable to find a lawyer or consultant for your refugee claim, if you cannot afford one then go to a legal aid office and apply for a legal aid lawyer.
Full list of legal aid offices:
- Alberta: https://www.legalaid.ab.ca/
- British Columbia: http://www.lss.bc.ca/legal_aid/land_immigration.php
- Manitoba: https://www.legalaid.mb.ca/services/services-we-provide/immigration-and-refugee/
- New Brunswick: http://www.legalaid-aidejuridique-nb.ca/home/
- Newfoundland and Labrador: https://www.legalaid.nl.ca/
- Northwest Territories: https://www.justice.gov.nt.ca/en/legal-aid/
- Nova Scotia: https://www.nslegalaid.ca/
- Nunavut: https://nulas.ca/en/
- Ontario: https://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/getting/type_immigration.asp
- Prince Edward Island: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/justice-and-public-safety/legal-aid
- Quebec: https://www.aidejuridiquedemontreal.ca/en/
- Saskatchewan: https://legalaid.sk.ca/
- Yukon: https://www.yukonlegalaid.ca/
Please note immigration consultants cannot accept legal aid clients and can only accept private clients. Before contacting an immigration consultant for your refugee claim, please make sure the immigration consultant is authorized to appear before the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada.
Once you got a lawyer or consultant, they will guide you on how to complete the refugee claim process. For your information, the process involves the following activities.
- Find a scanner or download a phone scanner on your mobile phone if you have one, and scan all your support documents including your passport.
- Create an account on the IRCC portal and complete the questionnaire.
- Upload all documents
- Electronically sign and submit the claim.
- Don’t forget to request a work permit while submitting an online application if you are not rich and need to work to survive.
What happens after you submit your claim?
Once the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) accepts your application, you will be asked to provide evidence either electronically or in person. Refugee Protection Division or R.P.D will process your forms and support documents, and if necessary, will arrange a hearing for you. Your lawyer or consultant can help you prepare for your hearing and can also attend the tribunal with you. In both cases, whether your claim was accepted or rejected, you will get a notice of decisions and detailed decisions that outlines the reasons why you were accepted as a refugee, or why you were not accepted as a refugee.
If you were accepted as a refugee, you can then apply for permanent residence at IRCC. However, if your case was rejected, in most cases you can appeal the case to the Refugee Appeal Division or RAD, however, chances are slim that they will change the R.P.D decision. If your case was again rejected by RAD, and you are still not satisfied, in some cases, you can apply for Leave and Judicial Review at the Federal Court.
Please note you are still subject to admissibility and background checks by the IRCC and CBSA. If you were found inadmissible, then CBSA officers will intervene in your case and not allow it to proceed further. You will be asked to resolve your inadmissibility matter first at the Immigration Division and then proceed with your refugee case at the Refugee Protection Division.
If you don’t want to hire a lawyer or consultant for your refugee case, and want to know the exact step-by-step process for refugee protection, please search the internet for Guide 0174: – Application Guide for Inland Refugee Claims Submitted through the IRCC Portal.
How to apply for Protection from outside Canada?
The Canadian government’s foreign missions such as Embassies, consulates or Commissionerates can not accept refugee protection applications from claimants directly. Therefore, all claimants must start the process from the U.N.H.C.R or the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. U.N.H.C.R will invite you for an interview and then issue you the Asylum Seeker Certificate. However, a final interview may be scheduled after a year or several years depending on the situation of the country or the number of refugee claimants at that office. Once they decided you are a refugee, they will give you refugee status and issue you a refugee status determination document or certificate. This certificate is especially important, which you can use for resettlement to many countries of the world, including Canada. For further details about how to resettle in Canada as a convention refugee abroad, please find relevant topics in the next few topics.