Processing pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) applications: Intake

This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada staff. It is posted on the Department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.

Applying for a PRRA

Who can apply for a PRRA

With some exceptions set out in subsection 112(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), people in Canada, other than those referred to in subsection A115(1) (protected persons or people who are recognized as Convention refugees by another country to which they may be returned), may apply for a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) if they are subject to a removal order that is in force or are named in a security certificate described in subsection A77(1). Excluding PRRAs at ports of entry (POEs) and subsequent PRRAs, a person may not apply before being given notification of their entitlement to do so [Section R160].

Regulatory stay of removal

When a person is notified (as per section 160 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations [IRPR]) of their entitlement to apply for a PRRA, the removal order against them becomes subject to a regulatory stay of removal [R232]. Notification is normally done in person by a Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) removals officer who provides the candidate with a PRRA application kit. If the person applies within the 15-day application period (7 additional days are provided to those who are notified by mail), the stay is maintained until a decision is made on the application. Learn more about removals and stays of removal.

Triggering a PRRA

Once the person is removal-ready, the CBSA issues a PRRA Notification, advising them that they are entitled to apply for a PRRA. The notice informs the person that they have 15 days in which to apply, plus an additional 15 days in which to provide written submissions in support of their application. The address to which everything must be sent is specified in the PRRA Notification package.

Evidence provided by previous refugee claimants is limited to that which arose after the rejection of their claim by the IRB or evidence that was not reasonably available or that the applicant could not reasonably have been expected in the circumstances to have presented to the IRB at the time of the rejection of the claim [A112(a)].

Subsequent PRRA applicants

A foreign national who is subject to a removal order that is in force and whose previous PRRA application has been refused, abandoned or withdrawn may apply for a subsequent PRRA as long as they are not subject to the 12-month bar on PRRA applications (see Who cannot apply for PRRA below).

However, subsequent PRRA applicants do not benefit from a regulatory stay of removal. Subsequent PRRA applicants have their application assessed only in terms of risk factors that have arisen since the last PRRA assessment, in accordance with the administrative law principle of issue estoppel, unless the officer is satisfied that it would be in the interests of justice to revisit an issue dealt with in a previous PRRA.

Applicants described in subsection 112(3) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)

In keeping with the principle that individuals such as serious criminals are excluded from refugee protection under the provisions of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention), certain applications submitted by people described in subsection A112(3) are not assessed against Refugee Convention grounds. Examples include those excluded under Article 1F of the Refugee Convention. Learn more about applicant restrictions on access to protection.

People subject to security certificates

Permanent residents and foreign nationals may be the subject of a certificate, signed by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and the Minister of Public Safety, stating that they are inadmissible on grounds of security, violating human or international rights, serious criminality or organized criminality [A77(1)].

Please contact the Immigration Program Guidance Branch for guidance on security certificate cases.

Who cannot apply for a PRRA

Outlined below are persons who cannot apply for PRRA. The exceptions generally relate to persons who already have protection or have other means of seeking protection.

Protected persons and Convention refugees

Subsection A115(1) provides that a protected person or a person who is recognized as a Convention refugee by another country to which they may be returned shall not be removed from Canada to a country where they would be at risk of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; or at risk of torture or cruel and unusual treatment or punishment. Subsection A115(2) provides exceptions to this protection against refoulement for those who are inadmissible on grounds of serious criminality, of being a security risk, of violating human or international rights, or of organized criminality and who, in the opinion of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, are also a danger to the Canadian public, a danger to the security of Canada or (by reason of the nature and severity of the acts committed) should not be allowed to remain in Canada. Pursuant to subsection A112(1), persons described in section A115(1) cannot apply for a PRRA.

However, persons described in subsection A115(1) may apply for an assessment of the risk they would face in the country or countries to which they can be removed. For example, applicants may assert that they are at risk in a country that has granted them Convention refugee status and to which they can be returned. Learn more about non-refoulement.

Persons subject to an authority to proceed under the Extradition Act

The authority to proceed (ATP) issued under section 15 of the Extradition Act is issued by the Department of Justice once it has sufficient documentation from the requesting country to proceed. A confirmation of the ATP is sent to the IRCC Case Management Branch (CMB), and an Extradition info-alert is placed in the Global Case Management System (GCMS), indicating that the ATP has been issued. A person against whom an ATP has been issued is not entitled, pursuant to paragraph A112(2)(a), to apply for a PRRA. If the ATP is issued after the PRRA application has been made, the officer assigned to assess the application should consult with the Immigration Program Guidance Branch.

Claimants coming from a safe third country

A person is not entitled, pursuant to paragraph A112(2)(b), to apply for a PRRA if their claim for refugee protection was determined to be ineligible because they came to Canada directly or indirectly from a safe third country; that is a country designated by the Regulations, other than the person’s country of nationality or, if the person is stateless, the person’s country of former habitual residence. To date, only the United States of America has been designated.

Certain refugee claimants and previous PRRA applicants

Generally, a person may not apply for a PRRA if less than 12 months has passed since their claim for refugee protection or previous PRRA application was rejected or determined to be withdrawn or abandoned. This 12-month PRRA bar also applies to decisions from the RAD and from the Federal Court. The bar is described inparagraphs A112(2)(b.1)and A112(2)(c).

Before notifying a rejected refugee claimant of their eligibility to apply for a PRRA (further to section R160), or before assessing a PRRA, the officer must verify if the person is subject to the 12-month PRRA bar.

PRRA bar applicability

Failed refugee claimants applying for their first PRRA
  • A failed refugee claimant who has not made an appeal to the RAD and who has not applied for leave and judicial review to the Federal Court may not apply for a PRRA if less than 12 months has passed since their refugee claim was rejected, abandoned or withdrawn after substantial evidence had been heard.
  • A failed refugee claimant who has either made an appeal to the RAD or applied for leave and judicial review to the Federal Court may not apply for a PRRA if less than 12 months has passed since the day the last decision was made.
Subsequent PRRA applicants

A person may not apply for a subsequent PRRA if less than 12 months has passed since their previous PRRA was rejected or declared withdrawn or abandoned or since their application for leave and judicial review of the previous PRRA decision was denied by the Federal Court.

The PRRA bar does not apply to people whose
  • refugee claim has been rejected on the basis of section E or F of Article 1 of the Refugee Convention
  • refugee claim has been determined to be ineligible for referral to the RPD
  • refugee protection has been vacated under subsection A109(3)

Calculating the bar

The bar is calculated from the date of the most recent RPD, RAD or PRRA decision or from the date of the Federal Court decision confirming a negative RPD, RAD or PRRA decision. This is considered to be the date

  • of the decision, if it is given orally at a hearing, when an IRB member states the decision and gives the reasons
  • an IRB member signs and dates the reason for the decision
  • of the PRRA officer’s written decision (following a PRRA)
  • the application for leave of the RPD, RAD or previous PRRA decision is denied by the Federal Court
  • the judicial review of the RPD, RAD or previous PRRA decision is rejected by the Federal Court

Note: The bar begins on the day following the decision. In other words, the first day of the bar is the day after the decision date.

Exemptions to the 12-month bar

Under subsection A112(2.1), the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship may exempt from the 12-month bar nationals or former habitual residents of a country where conditions have changed such that certain people could be subject to a risk within the meaning of sections A96 and A97.

Exemptions under subsection A112(2.1) are in place for nationals from the following countries (the dates applying to each exemption are included in the footnotes):

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