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You can ask for refugee status as soon as you arrive in Canada either at the border, at an airport or at a seaport by making a Port of Entry (POE) claim.
If you are arriving from the United States, there may be restrictions on making a claim. Get legal help if this applies to you.
If you are arriving with a group entering the country illegally, you could be listed as a “Designated Foreign National (DFN)” or “irregular arrival.” You would be detained immediately, and your refugee claim and rights would be affected.
At your eligibility interview, an officer from the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) will ask you questions to learn if you are eligible to make a claim.
The officer will ask questions about your identity, history and the basis of your claim. It is important to tell them all the reasons why you are making a refugee claim.
What you say during the interview will be compared to your Basis of Claim (BOC) form and immigration forms, your supporting documents and your hearing. Do not guess an answer to a question if you are not sure about or cannot remember.
You could be ineligible to make a refugee claim in Canada if:
If one or more of these conditions apply, you will not get a refugee hearing and could be returned to your country without your claim being heard. As well, you may be kept in immigration detention.
If you do not understand English or French, a translator will be provided for you. If you need a translator and you do not have one, ask for one before the interview begins. If you have trouble understanding your translator, or if you think something might have been translated wrong, say something as soon as possible. It is important to have this noted, in case any information is misunderstood.
If you think there were translation problems or misunderstandings at your eligibility interview, you should talk to your lawyer or representative. You might want to say this in your BOC form or at your hearing.
If you are eligible to make a refugee claim, your file will be sent to the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). This usually happens the same day you arrive in Canada after your eligibility interview, but can be up to three days later. This does not mean that you have refugee status–it is just the beginning of the process.
A CBSA officer will help you fill out the following immigration forms:
You will be given a Basis of Claim (BOC) form to complete and submit to the IRB. You only have 15 days to complete your BOC form once your file is sent to the IRB.
You will get the following documents:
The next steps are very important for your claim. You do not have much time, so you must act quickly.