Claim refugee status from inside Canada: How to apply

If you’re affected by Hurricane Dorian

The requirements to become a refugee in Canada remain the same.

  • You can’t make a refugee claim at a Canadian embassy, ‎high commission, consulate, consulate general or honorary consulate.
  • To become a refugee in Canada, see our current process.

How to apply for refugee status

1. Decide where to apply

There are 2 ways to apply for refugee status in Canada:

Apply at a port of entry

You can apply for refugee status at any port of entry. This means an airport, seaport or land border.

The officer you make your refugee claim to decides if your claim is eligible to be referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). If your claim is eligible, you

  • are given a document confirming that your claim has been referred to the IRB
  • have 15 days to complete all the forms in the application package and submit them to the IRB

Apply at an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada office

You can make a refugee claim in Canada at certain Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) offices. If you choose to apply at an IRCC office, you

  • must have all the forms in the application package completed and with you
  • will not be scheduled for an interview with an immigration officer until you show in person that you have completed all the forms

If the officer decides that your refugee claim is eligible, you are given a date for your IRB hearing.

2. Get the application package

To apply, you need to give us information on

  • your background
  • your family
  • why you want to make a claim for refugee protection

You give us this information by completing the forms in the application package.

The application package includes the application guide and all the forms you need to fill out.

3. Go to a hearing

If you’re eligible to make a refugee claim, you have to go to a hearing at the IRB.

The officer gives you a Confirmation of Referral. It confirms that your claim is being referred to the IRB. At a later date, the IRB will send you a Notice to Appear for a hearing. This notice tells you

  • where to go for the hearing
  • the time you must show up
  • your hearing’s start time

You must bring all your identity documents to your hearing, including your

  • passport
  • driver’s licence
  • any other documents that may prove your identity or support your refugee claim

Find out how to prepare for your hearing in the IRB’s Claimant’s Guide.

The IRB assesses your claim and decides if you will be given refugee status.

The IRB will never call you and ask you for money. Read more information on fraudulent calls demanding money.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: