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

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.

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 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 [[A113(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who is subject to a removal order that is in force and whose previous PRRA application has been refused, abandoned or withdrawn may apply for a subsequent PRRA as long as they are not subject to the 12 month bar on PRRA applications (see Who cannot apply for PRRA below).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 a 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 unsuccessful refugee claimants and previous PRRA applicants

Certain unsuccessful refugee claimants or previous PRRA applicants may be barred from applying for a PRRA.

12-month PRRA bar

Certain unsuccessful refugee claimants or previous PRRA applicants may be barred from applying for a PRRA as described in paragraphs A112(2)(b.1) and A112(2)(c).

Before notifying an unsuccessful refugee claimant of their entitlement 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.

In exceptional circumstances, for individuals who are barred from applying for a PRRA, CBSA may request that IRRC reviews a request for a PRRA bar waiver under A25(1) in the context of a request to defer removal. See section 25.4 of ENF 10 (PDF, 879 KB) Removals.

Applicability of the PRRA bar

The 12-month PRRA bar applies to the following persons:

  • persons who have received a negative decision from the Immigration Refugee Board (IRB) on a claim for refugee protection
  • persons who have received a negative decision from IRCC on a past PRRA application
  • persons who have received a negative decision from the Federal Court (FC) on an application for leave or judicial review regarding a claim for refugee protection or a PRRA decision

The PPRA bar does not apply to individuals whose

Calculating the bar

The bar is calculated from the date of the most recent Refugee Protection Division (RPD), Refugee Appeals Division (RAD) or PRRA decision, or from the date the FC refuses the application for leave or confirms a negative RPD, RAD or PRRA decision.

The date of the decision is considered to be one of the following:

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

Note: As per A112(2)(b.1) and (c), the bar begins on the day of the decision when based on the merits of the claim/appeal/application. The last day of the PRRA bar is the day before the 12-month anniversary of the decision date.

Exemptions from the 12-month bar

Under subsection A112(2.1), the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration 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:

PRRA – Exemptions from the bar
Name of country Effective date Country nationals are exempt from the 12-month bar if their IRB or previous PRRA decision was made during the following period Operational bulletin
Central African Republic May 30, 2014 May 12, 2013 to May 11, 2014 Changes to Pre–Removal Risk Assessment for Egypt and Central African Republic
Central African Republic December 8, 2017 December 9, 2016 to December 8, 2017 Changes to the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment for the Central African Republic
Egypt May 30, 2014 May 12, 2013 to May 11, 2014 Changes to Pre–Removal Risk Assessment for Egypt and Central African Republic
Guinea-Bissau August 15, 2012 August 15, 2011 to August 14, 2012 Exemptions to the Bars on Applying for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment
Libya February 20, 2015 February 20, 2014 to February 19, 2015 Changes to the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment Libya
Mali March 15, 2013 February 21, 2012 to February 20, 2013 Mali-Exemptions to the Bar on Applying for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment
Somalia August 15, 2012 August 15, 2011 to August 14, 2012 Exemptions to the Bars on Applying for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment
South Sudan August 27, 2014 August 27, 2013 to August 26, 2014 Changes to Pre-Removal Risk Assessment for South Sudan
Sudan August 15, 2012 August 15, 2011 to August 14, 2012 Exemptions to the Bars on Applying for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment
Syria August 15, 2012 August 15, 2011 to August 14, 2012 Exemptions to the Bars on Applying for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment
Yemen June 17, 2015 June 18, 2014 and June 17, 2015 Changes to the Pre–Removal Risk Assessment for Yemen
Burundi August 12, 2015 August 13, 2014 to August 12, 2015 Changes to the Pre–Removal Risk Assessment for Burundi
Ethiopia July 27, 2016 July 28, 2015 to July 27, 2016 Changes to the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment for Ethiopia
Turkey February 15, 2017 February 16, 2016 to February 15, 2017 Changes to the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment for Turkey
Russia June 30, 2017 July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 Changes to the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment for Russia
Venezuela July 7, 2017 July 8, 2016 to July 7, 2017 Changes to the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment for Venezuela
Venezuela August 19, 2019 August 20, 2018 to August 19, 2019 Changes to the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment for Venezuela
Brunei June 13, 2019 June 14, 2018 to June 13, 2019 Changes to the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment for Brunei
Hong Kong November 12, 2020 November 13, 2019 to November 12, 2020 Changes to the pre-removal risk assessment for Hong Kong
Belarus February 18, 2021 February 19, 2020 to February 18, 2021 Changes to the pre-removal risk assessment for Belarus
Myanmar May 7, 2021 May 8, 2020 to May 7, 2021 Changes to the pre-removal risk assessment for Myanmar
Afghanistan October 18, 2021 October 19, 2020 to October 18, 2021 Changes to the pre-removal risk assessment for Afghanistan
Nicaragua October 29, 2021 October 30, 2020 to October 29, 2021 Changes to the pre-removal risk assessment for Nicaragua
Ethiopia December 16, 2021 December 17, 2020 to December 16, 2021 Changes to the pre-removal risk assessment for Ethiopia
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