In-Canada claims for refugee protection: Intake

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

Intake is the first step in the in-Canada refugee claim process.

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Who may make a refugee claim

Foreign nationals and permanent residents who are not subject to a removal order may make a refugee claim in Canada. This includes a claim made at an admissibility hearing prior to the issuance of a removal order.

Canadian citizens may not make a refugee claim, as they already enjoy the protection of Canadian citizenship and the right to enter and remain in Canada.

When and where a refugee claim may be made

A refugee claim may be made at a Canadian port of entry or at an inland Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) office, at any time during the administrative or admissibility hearing process, provided a removal order has not been issued.

A refugee claim can also be initiated from inside Canada, using the online Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) Portal application process.

How a refugee claim is made

From inside Canada

Note: The CRPP was fully decommissioned on September 18th 2023. No communication with the client via the CRPP will be possible after this date.

Refugee claims submitted from inside Canada via the IRCC Portal are made through a multi-step process, which includes online and in-person components.

  1. The claim is initiated online through the IRCC Portal, A claimant must scan and upload supporting documents (including the Basis of Claim (PDF, 541 KB) form) with their online submission.
  2. Upon submission of the claim, a refugee claim application will be automatically created in GCMS.
  3. An IRCC official reviews the claim for completeness and issues an Acknowledgement of Claim (AOC) if complete, which serves as proof that a refugee claim has been made.
  4. An IRCC official will schedule an appointment with the claimant for biometrics collection and seizure of documents. They will also conduct an interview with the claimant to determine eligibility of the claim for referral to the Immigration and Refugee Board.

At a port of entry

All refugee claims must be made in person to a CBSA officer designated to receive refugee claims. A refugee claim is made when a person expresses to a CBSA officer the need for Canada’s protection. The claimant will not necessarily use words like “refugee” or “persecution”. If the official to whom a claim is made is not delegated to receive refugee claims, the claimant must be referred to a delegated officer as soon as practicable.

At the port of entry, claimants will have their biometrics collected and identity documents seized. Claimants will be given the Information pamphlet for refugee claimants (PDF, 74.7 KB) detailing the next steps of the asylum claim process.

Note: Refugee claims may not be made by mail. If a client mails in completed forms to the CBSA or IRCC, the forms must be returned, and the client must be notified that they should apply online through the IRCC Portal.

Exemption process for IRCC claims

If an applicant is unable to complete their refugee application online for accommodation reasons, they may request an exemption to the online process. The applicant will email IRCC to provide information on why they are unable to use the online application and request the paper-based application package. 

Burden of proof

The burden of proving that the claim is eligible for referral to the Immigration and Refugee Board rests with the claimant.

Processing fees

There are no processing fees for claims for refugee protection in Canada. As well, as per paragraphs R299(2)(a) and R300(2)(a), claimants are not required to pay the fees normally charged for work and study permits.

There is no fee for the replacement of a lost, stolen or destroyed refugee protection claimant document (RPCD).

Procedures for receiving and initial processing of claims

Information and evidence must be collected from all claimants to enable officers to determine:

  • whether a person may make a refugee claim in Canada as per subsection A99(3)
  • admissibility to Canada as per sections A34 to A41
  • eligibility of the refugee claim for referral to the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board as per section A101

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