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Steps in a Refugee Claim

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  1. Complete a questionnaire at a Canada Immigration office (either at the port of entry or within Canada), and get an information package.

  2. An immigration officer will review your questionnaire for completeness, usually on the same day. Your case will then go to a Senior Immigration Officer ("SIO") for review.

  3. The SIO will decide whether you are eligible to make a refugee claim. You may have the SIO review your case in writing or in person. If the decision is favourable, the SIO will issue a conditional removal order from Canada and refer your case to the CRDD. You can stay in Canada to pursue your refugee claim.

    1. If the SIO finds you have a possible claim, you'll be given a conditional removal order, and a personal information form package ("PIF"). The PIF is very important, because you outline why you feel you are entitled to make a refugee claim.

    2. You have 28 days from receipt of the PIF to submit it to the CRDD. If you don't, you risk having your claim declared abandoned, unless you ask for an extension of time.

    3. If the SIO determines that you are ineligible to make a claim, you can be refused admission to Canada or the case may be sent to the Adjudicator for disposition.

  4. Once you have filed a PIF, you may apply for an employment authorization (work permit).

  5. Your case will be reviewed by a refugee claims officer ("RCO"). If the RCO feels that you have a strong case, he or she may make a recommendation that your case go to an expedited hearing before the convention refugee determination division ("CRDD"). This is usually much faster than a full hearing.

  6. If the RCO doesn't think your case is strong, you'll need to go for a full hearing before the CRDD. This may take up to a year.

  7. The CRDD is the body that will ultimately hear your case, and make the determination as to whether you are a convention refugee or not. If you get an unfavourable decision, you may be able to apply to the Federal Court of Canada to review the CRDD's decision.

More questions? Phone us at (604) HELP-LAW.

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This page last updated: November 30, 1999
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