Guide 5523 – Applying for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment
Table of Contents
This is not a legal document. For legal information, refer to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations or the Citizenship Act and Regulations, as applicable.
This publication is available in alternative formats upon request.
Symbols used in this guide
This guide uses the following symbols to indicate information of particular importance.
What you must do to have your application processed.
Important information that you need to be aware of in order to avoid delays or other problems.
Where to get more information.
Tips that will assist you with this application.
Applying for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment
Many persons facing removal from Canada are given the opportunity to apply for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA). Generally speaking, you may not apply for a PRRA unless the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has notified you that you may do so, and given you a Notification Regarding a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment. If eligible and you wish to apply, you must submit your application form and written submissions (if any) to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) PRRA Unit, IRCC-Backlog Reduction Office at the address listed in your Notification. Read all of the information in this application kit carefully. It will explain the PRRA program, and assist you in completing your application.
How might a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment help me?
The PRRA is an opportunity for people who are facing removal from Canada to seek protection by describing, in writing, the risks they believe they would face if removed. Persons whose PRRA applications are approved may stay in Canada.
If I apply for a PRRA, how will my application be assessed?
Most PRRA applications are assessed with respect to:
(A) Whether the applicant’s return to their country would subject them personally to:
- A danger of torture; or
- A risk to life, or of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment, if:
- Because of that risk, they are unable/unwilling to seek protection in their country;
- They would face the risk in every part of that country;
- The risk is not the result of legitimate sanctions (except those imposed in violation of international standards); and
- The risk is not caused by the inability of the country to provide adequate health or medical care.
(B) Whether the applicant has a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country (country of nationality or, if they do not have one, the country where they usually lived) based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group; and because of this fear, they are unwilling or unable to return to or seek protection in that country.
However, assessment of your application will be limited to the grounds outlined in (A) if you:
- Have been determined to be inadmissible for serious criminality because you were convicted in Canada of a crime punishable by 10 or more years in prison, and you received a prison sentence of two or more years; or
- Have been determined inadmissible on grounds of security, human or international rights violations or organized criminality; or
- Made a refugee claim and it was rejected on the basis of section F of Article 1 of the Refugee Convention; or
- Are named in a certificate referred to in subsection 77(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
If this is your first PRRA application, you are now benefiting from a stay of your removal order. As such, the arrangements to enforce your removal from Canada have been suspended. To ensure that the stay of your removal order remains in effect while your application is being processed, you must submit your application within the deadlines specified in your Notification Regarding a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment.
If this is not your first PRRA application, you are late submitting your application, or you are applying at a port of entry, you are not benefiting from a stay of your removal order.
What if I do NOT wish to apply for a PRRA?
If you do not wish to submit a PRRA application and you want to leave Canada voluntarily:
- Complete Section G (‘Statement of No Intention’) of the Application for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (IMM 5508) form;
- Send it to the address indicated in the enclosed Notification Regarding a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment; and
- Report to the Canada Border Services Agency office that gave you this application kit.
Before You Apply
Preparing Your PRRA Application
Which documents will I fill out?
To apply for a PRRA, you must complete and submit the form, Application for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (IMM 5508). All of your family members in Canada who are 18 years of age or older and who are also applying for a PRRA must complete their own Application for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (IMM 5508) form. Make photocopies of the form so that each person has both a working and a final copy.
You may also make written submissions and provide documentary evidence to support your case.
Do I have to include my family members on my application?
All of your family members inside or outside Canada should be listed on the Application for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (IMM 5508). Family members are defined as your spouse or common-law partner and dependent children. A dependent child is defined as:
- your biological child or the biological child of your spouse or common-law partner, or the biological child of that dependent child; or
- a person who is a child you or your spouse or common-law partner adopted by way of full adoption before the child was 18 years of age. Full adoption means an adoption that severs a pre-existing legal parent-child relationship.
Definitions of Dependent children
We assess your child’s eligibility as a dependant based on how old they were at a specific point in time, called the lock-in date. To see if your child qualifies as a dependant, we consider the age of your child on the lock-in date, even though your child’s age may change during processing.
Not sure if your child is a dependant? Check if your child qualifies by answering a few questions.
Your child or the child of your spouse or common-law partner can be considered a dependent child if that child meets the requirements below on the lock-in date:
- They’re under 22 years old, and
- They don’t have a spouse or common-law partner
Children 22 years old or older qualify as dependants if they meet both of these requirements:
- They have depended on their parents for financial support since before the age of 22, and
- They are unable to financially support themselves because of a mental or physical condition
With the exception of age, dependants must continue to meet these requirements until we finish processing your application.
If your child’s age was locked in on or before October 23, 2017, a previous definition of dependent children may apply.
Should I make written submissions?
Written submissions give you the opportunity to describe your situation. It is in your written submissions that you can explain why you think that you would be at risk if removed to your country of nationality or former habitual residence. You may also submit documents in support of your written submissions.
How do I prepare my written submissions?
In your written submissions, it is important that you clearly answer the following questions:
- Why would I be at risk if I was returned to my country of nationality or habitual residence?
- What kind of risks would I face and why?
- How do these risks concern me directly and personally?
- Could I escape these risks by moving to another city or region of my country?
- How does my situation compare with the situation of the rest of the population in my country of nationality or habitual residence?
Be aware that misrepresenting or withholding material facts may lead to rejection of your application, and the resumption of arrangements to enforce your removal from Canada.
Note: If you have had a refugee claim or a previous PRRA application rejected, you may only provide new evidence, which has arisen since the rejection.
What is New Evidence?
New evidence is evidence that arose after the rejection, or that was not normally accessible, or that you could not reasonably have been expected in the circumstances to have presented at the time of rejection. It is important that you clearly identify and explain new evidence in any documents you submit (for example, highlighting certain parts of a magazine article).
What types of documentary evidence could be useful to support my case?
Written documents of any kind, such as documents that present facts relating to the alleged risks, may be used to support your submissions. You may also present the written statements of family members, friends, neighbours or any other persons. The following are examples of documents that might be useful as evidence:
- Magazine or newspaper articles describing the situation in your country
- Legal documents
- Police documents
- Medical documents
- Personal documents
- Written testimonies
- Personal letters
Note: Your written submissions and any supporting documentary evidence must be provided in either English or French. If you wish to submit any documents in another language, you must also provide an English or French translation of the document, and a translator's declaration. A translator's declaration must include the translator's name, the original language of the translated document and a statement signed by the translator that the translation is accurate. Documents submitted in a language other than English or French without a translation will not be considered.
Do I need to hire counsel?
Although you do not need to hire counsel, you may—at your own expense—be assisted by a lawyer or other authorized representative. See How to Complete the Form for more information on authorized representatives.
Note: It is your responsibility to ensure that the information in your application is correct and up-to-date. If your circumstances change, you must inform us. Decisions made on your application will be based on the information we have at the time your application is reviewed. A permit holder is someone who holds a valid temporary resident permit (formerly called a Minister’s permit).
When must I send my PRRA application?
If this is your first PRRA application
Refer to your Notification Regarding a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment for information on when and where to submit your application. Pay close attention to the deadline date on your Notification; failure to submit your application by the deadline may result in the cancellation of the stay of your removal order.
If you are late submitting your application, you must send both your application form and written submissions at the same time.
If this is NOT your first PRRA application
You must send both your application form and submissions as soon as possible.
Review of Application Procedure
Follow these steps to submit your first PRRA application:
- Step 1.
Fill out and sign your application form (IMM 5508).
Remember: your spouse and each family member in Canada 18 years of age and older must complete their own application form.
- Step 2.
Send the completed form(s) to the IRCC centre specified on your Notification Regarding a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment, by the date specified on that Notification.
- Step 3.
(If you wish), prepare written submissions and compile documentary evidence.
- Step 4.
Send the submissions and documentary evidence to the IRCC centre, by the date specified on your Notification.
How to complete the form
Completing the Forms
Use the following instructions to fill in the form. Most of the questions on the forms are straightforward and extra instructions have only been provided when necessary. You must answer all questions. If any sections do not apply to you, answer “N/A” (not applicable).
Print clearly and make sure all information is easy to read. Attach a separate sheet of paper if you need more space and indicate the number of the question you are answering. Be sure to make enough photocopies before you start.Warning:
You must provide truthful, accurate information. The information provided may be verified. Processing will stop immediately if you give false or misleading information. It is an offence under section 127 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to knowingly make a false statement in your application.
Forms to be completed
Application for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (IMM 5508)
To be completed by:
- You, as the principal applicant
- Your spouse or common-law partner (if in Canada)
- Your dependent children, 18 years of age or older (if in Canada)
A. Personal and Family Information
1. Surname (family name) and given names
Print your full surname (family name) as it appears on your passport or official documents. Print all of your given names (first, second or more). Do not use initials.
15. Additional family information
Provide information about members of your family who are not applying for a PRRA with you. Do not repeat information about members of your family who you have listed in question 14.
C. Arrival Details
24. Journey to Canada
Country of citizenship or residence refers to the country in which you last resided on a legal permanent basis before you came to Canada. It is not a country in which you were a foreign student or guest worker.
29. Documents presented upon arrival
These documents can be passports, visitor visas, birth certificates, identity cards, etc.
D. Required Information for your Pre-Removal Risk Assessment
46, 47. Previous claims for refugee status
In the “Result” columns, indicate whether the claim was approved, rejected or is in process.
49. Applications for refugee protection or for a PRRA by family members and relatives
Give us details about family members and relatives who have claimed refugee status in Canada or in any other country. Also include applications for PRRA. Under “Result”, indicate whether the claim was approved, rejected or is in process.
E. Reasons for applying for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment
50, 51. Information to support your claim
Review the determinations for risk as listed in the Overview section of this application kit before answering these questions. Provide as much detail as possible.
52. Supporting evidence
On the form, list each of the documents you will be submitting and how each supports your request for protection; use an extra sheet of paper if you need more space. On a separate sheet of paper, list how each of these documents relates personally and directly to you and your situation.
F. Declaration of Applicant
Sign and date the application.
G. Statement of No Intention
Complete this section only if you do not want to apply for a PRRA. If you do not intend to apply for a PRRA, complete this section and immediately return it to the address specified in the enclosed Notification Regarding a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment. Once you submit Section G: Statement of No Intention, report to the nearest IRCC centre.
Use of a Representative (IMM 5476)
Who may use this form?
Complete this form only if you:
- are appointing a representative;
- have to update contact information for your previously appointed representative; or
- are cancelling a representative’s appointment.
If you have dependent children aged 18 years or older, they are required to complete their own copy of this form if a representative is also conducting business on their behalf.
Who is a representative?
A representative is someone who provides advice, consultation, or guidance to you at any stage of the application process, or in a proceeding and, if you appoint him or her as your representative by filling out this form, has your permission to conduct business on your behalf with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
You are not obliged to hire a representative. We treat everyone equally, whether they use the service of a representative or not.
When you appoint a representative:
- you also authorize IRCC and CBSA to share information from your case file with this person in place of you. Please note the representative will receive all correspondence from IRCC or the CBSA, not the applicant;
- your application will not be given special attention nor can you expect faster processing or a more favourable outcome;
- the representative is authorized to represent you only on citizenship or immigration matters related to the application you submit with this form; and
- you can appoint only one (1) representative for each application you submit.
Important information: You must notify IRCC if your representative’s contact information changes, or if you change your representative, or cancel the appointment of your representative. For more information on updating IRCC with your representative’s information, please see below section - Notify IRCC about any changes.
There are two (2) types of representatives.
Uncompensated representatives do not charge fees or receive any other form of consideration or compensation for providing advice or services to represent you before IRCC or the CBSA.
Uncompensated representatives include:
- friends and family members who do not, and will not, charge a fee or receive any other consideration for their advice and services;
- organizations that do not, and will not, charge a fee or receive any other consideration for providing citizenship or immigration advice or assistance (such as a non-governmental or religious organization);
- consultants, lawyers and Quebec notaries, and students-at-law under their supervision, who do not, and will not, charge a fee or receive any other consideration to represent you.
Note: You do not have to pay someone for them to be your representative. IRCC will conduct business with an uncompensated representative if an applicant appoints them on their behalf.
Compensated representatives charge a fee or receive some other form of consideration in exchange for the representation that they provide.
It is important to know that anyone who represents or advises you for payment - or offers to do so - in connection with IRCC proceedings or applications is breaking the law unless they are an authorized representative or they have a specific agreement or arrangement with the Government of Canada that allows them to represent or advise you. This applies to advice or consultation which happens before or after a citizenship or an immigration application is made or a proceeding begins.
IRCC will only conduct business with compensated representatives who are in good standing with their designated regulatory body. For more information see - Find out if your representative is authorized.
Note: If a representative is being paid or compensated by someone other than you, the representative is still considered to be a compensated representative.
Authorized representatives are:
- consultants who are members in good standing of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC);
- lawyers and paralegals who are members in good standing of a Canadian provincial or territorial law society and students-at-law under their supervision;
- notaries who are members in good standing of the Chambre des notaires du Québec and students-at-law under their supervision.
If you appoint a compensated representative who is not a member in good standing of one of these designated bodies, your application will be returned. Learn about using a representative.
General Application Information
Appoint a representative
- Check box to indicate if you are appointing a representative to represent you with your application process. Complete sections A, B and D.
Cancel a representative
- Check box to indicate if you are canceling a representative. Complete sections A, C and D; and
- Check both boxes and complete all sections if you are cancelling a representative and appointing a new one at the same time.
Section A – Applicant Information
- Question 1
Write your last name (surname or family name) and given name(s).
- Question 2
Write your date of birth.
- Question 3
If you have already submitted your application, write:
- the name of the office where the application was submitted; and
- the type of application you have submitted.
- Question 4
Write your IRCC’s Identification (ID) or Unique Client Identifier (UCI) number (if known). If you have not dealt with IRCC since 1973, you will not have a UCI or a Client ID.
Section B – Appointment of Representative
- Question 5
Write your representative’s full name.
If your representative is a member of the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC), a law society or the Chambre des notaires du Québec, print his or her name as it appears on the organization’s membership list.
- Question 6
Check one box to indicate if your representative is uncompensated or compensated.If your representative is compensated, write the membership ID number of:
- the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC); or
- a Canadian provincial or territorial law society; or
- the Chambre des notaires du Québec.
- Question 7
Write your representative’s contact information.
If you are appointing a student-at-law to represent you, include their supervising lawyer’s information including their membership ID.
Note: By indicating your representative’s e-mail address, you are hereby authorizing IRCC to transmit your file and personal information to this specific e-mail address.
- Question 8
To accept responsibility for conducting business on your behalf, your representative must:
- sign the declaration; and
- date the declaration.
Section C – Cancel the Appointment of a Representative
- Question 9
Fill in this section if you wish to cancel the appointment of a representative. Write the representative’s full name.
Complete all sections of the form if you wish to both cancel a representative and appoint a new one.
Section D – Your Declaration
- Question 10
By signing, you authorize IRCC to complete your request for yourself and your dependent children under 18 years of age.
For sponsorship application, your spouse or common-law partner does not have to complete a separate request. If your spouse or common-law partner is included in this request, he or she must sign in the box provided.
Release of information to other individuals
To authorize IRCC to release information from your case file to someone other than a representative, you will need to complete the form Authority to Release Personal Information to a Designated Individual (IMM 5475) (PDF, 593.57KB). The form is also available from Canadian embassies, high commissions and consulates abroad.
The person you designate under that form (IMM 5475) will be able to obtain information on your case file, such as the status of your application. However, they will not be able to conduct business on your behalf with IRCC.
Where to submit the form
Immigration and citizenship applicants
If you have not yet submitted your immigration or citizenship application:
Send this form along with your application to the office listed in the guide of your application.
If you have already submitted your immigration or citizenship application:
You may use this Web form to upload the IMM 5476.
If you know which IRCC office is processing your immigration or citizenship application, send the completed form to the office mailing address. Consult IRCC office mailing addresses.
Notify IRCC about any changes
You must let IRCC know if any information changes regarding the person you authorized to represent you on your application.
Mailing your application
Send the following items to the Backlog Reduction Office of the IRCC centre at the address below:
- Your completed Application for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (IMM 5508)
- Photocopies of all identity and relationship documents
- A translation for every identity and relationship document that is in a language other than English or French
- Your written submissions, if applicable
Use a 23 cm x 30.5 cm (9” x 12”) envelope. Address the envelope as follows
(Your Postal Code)
IRCC - Backlog Reduction Office
#600 - 605 Robson Street
Clearly print your name and address at the top left-hand side of the envelope. The envelope will require more postage than a normal letter. To avoid having your application returned to you, have the post office weigh it before mailing.
What happens next
May I work while my application is being processed?
This is your first PRRA application
If you have a valid work permit, and you submit your PRRA application by the deadline on the enclosed Notification Regarding a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment, you can work until a decision is made on your application, or the date on which your permit expires, whichever occurs first.
If you do not have a valid work permit, and you submit your PRRA application on time, you may apply for a work permit up until such time as a decision is made on your application. To obtain a permit, refer to the Application to Change Conditions or Extend Your Stay in Canada – Worker (IMM 5553). It is illegal to work in Canada without a permit issued by IRCC.
This is NOT your first PRRA application or you are submitting your application late
You are not entitled to work in Canada.
Do I have access to medical care while my application is being processed?
If you previously made a refugee claim, you may be eligible to receive coverage of certain medical costs under the Interim Federal Health (IFH) program.
Visit applying for IFH coverage for more information.
May I leave Canada while my application is being processed?
If you leave Canada, your application will be declared abandoned, and as a result, it will be rejected.
A PRRA application is normally assessed only on the basis of written information. However, you might be called to report for a hearing to answer questions about certain aspects of your application. If a hearing is necessary, you will receive a written notice indicating the location, date and time of the hearing as well as the matters that to be discussed. You may be accompanied, at your own expense, by a lawyer or other authorized representative. This person may only support you and cannot intervene on your behalf.
If you have previously provided written testimony from a third party, that party might be called to report to a hearing for an interview. You would also be invited to such a hearing.
What will the PRRA officer take into account in assessing my application?
In the examination of your application, the PRRA officer will determine whether or not you would face risks if you were to be returned to your country of nationality or habitual residence. The officer will consider the following information:
- The information on your completed Application for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (IMM 5508);
- Your immigration file; and
- Your written submissions and any new evidence that you have submitted.
- If you have had a refugee protection claim heard by the Immigration and Refugee Board, the decision and reasons your refugee claim was refused, as well as any documents completed by the Immigration and Refugee Board in its assessment of your claim.
Furthermore, the PRRA officer may refer to sources of information that are publicly available. The following are examples of publicly available sources of information that might be reviewed:
- Human Rights Package
- Contextual Package
- Index Media Review
- Weekly Media Review
- U.S. Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
- Lawyers Committee for Human Rights
- Amnesty International reports
- Doctors Without Borders reports
- World Europa and Human Rights World Reports
- Internet research
This list is not exhaustive. Other publicly available sources of information may be taken into account.
It is your responsibility to ensure that the information in your application is correct and up-to-date. If your circumstances change, you must inform us. Decisions made on your application will be based on the information we have at the time your application is reviewed. Updated information should be sent to the Backlog Reduction Office in Vancouver (BRO-V) by fax at 604-666-1116, by email to: VancouverBRO@cic.gc.ca or by mail at:
IRCC - Backlog Reduction Office
#600 - 605 Robson Street
Note: The Backlog Reduction Office will not provide an acknowledgement of receipt letter.
If the officer's assessment is that you would not face risk, your application will be rejected and you will have to leave Canada.
If your application is accepted, you will be able to stay in Canada. You will be notified if you are eligible to apply for permanent residence.
Special Considerations – Certain Applicants
The PRRA assessment process and outcome of an approved application differs for certain applicants.
- have been determined to be inadmissible for serious criminality because you were convicted in Canada of a crime punishable by 10 or more years in prison; or
- have been determined to be inadmissible for serious criminality due to a conviction outside of Canada for a crime that, if committed in Canada, would constitute a crime punishable by 10 or more years in prison; or
- have been determined inadmissible on grounds of security, human or international rights violations or organized criminality; or
- made a refugee claim and it was rejected on the basis of section F of Article 1 of the Refugee Convention; or
- are named in a certificate referred to in subsection 77(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act
…and the officer’s assessment is that you would face risk, your file will be sent to a Case Management Officer who will determine if your presence in Canada is a danger to the Canadian public or a danger to the security of Canada.
The two assessments, (1) the risk faced by you and (2) the danger you represent to the Canadian public, will then be shared with you, giving you the opportunity to may make comments in writing, if necessary, on any errors or omissions.
Finally, a delegate of the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship will consider the two assessments and your comments before making a final decision.
If your application is accepted, your removal order will be stayed (suspended), and you will be able to stay in Canada. However, you will not be able to apply for permanent residence. If it is determined at a later date that the circumstances that led to the approval of your application have changed, the stay will be cancelled and you will have to leave Canada.
Protecting your information
Your personal information is:
- available to IRCC and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) employees who need to see it to provide the services to you, and
- not disclosed to other organizations except as permitted under the provisions of the Privacy Act or the Citizenship Regulations.
For more information. For more information about the protection of your data, visit the Help Centre.
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