Immigration Operational Bulletin 652 – May 16, 2018

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Manual update required for the Refugee Protection Claimant Document validity from 2 to 4 years


A procedure has been implemented for all offices (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency) processing in-Canada refugee claims to manually change the system default validity date of the refugee protection claimant document (RPCD) from the current 2-year default in the system to 4 years. This procedure will be in place until the necessary permanent change to the system is implemented in Fall 2018.

All claimants currently issued an RPCD (that is, persons whose claims are eligible for referral to the Immigration and Refugee Board [IRB], or whose claims are ineligible, in the case of persons who may be entitled to apply for pre-removal risk assessment [PRRA]) will be issued an RPCD with a 4-year validity period.


The current system default validity period of 2 years is resulting in an increase in RPCD renewal requests, which are time-consuming to fulfil and some of which cause system-related issues. The volume of such requests may increase, as refugee claim volumes are rising. 


The RPCD is a document that identifies the holder as a client of Canada’s refugee protection system. An RPCD is issued to persons whose claims are eligible for referral to the IRB, or whose claims are ineligible, in the case of persons who appear entitled to apply for a PRRA. If applicable, the RPCD indicates that the person is eligible for coverage under the Interim Federal Health Program. The RPCD is also used by clients to support applications for certain provincial benefits.

Prior to the 2012 reforms made to the in-Canada asylum system, refugee claims were heard in an average of 18 months, and RPCDs (issued at intake) were valid for 5 years. This 5-year validity was established to ensure that offices would rarely receive requests for renewal of expired RPCDs. In 2012, the decision was made to shorten the validity period to 2 years.

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