Refugee claimants: Know your rights

You have certain rights and may have access to Canadian services while we consider your claim for refugee protection. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects all people in Canada.

After you submit a refugee claim, you’ll receive instructions to get an immigration medical exam. During the exam, your doctor will collect some personal information from you. See what to expect during your exam for more details.

Your immigration medical exam is free if you show your Acknowledgement of Claim and Notice to Return for Interview letter or your refugee protection claimant document.


If you already submitted your refugee claim but didn’t apply for a permit at the same time, you can submit a work permit application separately.

With your application, you need to include a copy of your refugee protection claimant document and proof that:

  • you did your immigration medical examination
  • you need a job to pay for your basic needs (food, clothing, shelter)
  • the family members you’re requesting permits for are with you in Canada and also applying for Refugee status

There are no fees for these permits when you’re waiting for a decision on your refugee claim.

To avoid delays, make sure we always have your current address. If needed, you can change your address online.


You can apply for a study permit so you can go to school while you’re waiting for a decision on your claim.

You need an acceptance letter from a designated learning institution before you can apply.

If you have an acceptance letter, you can apply at the same time you apply for refugee status by including your acceptance letter with your application for refugee status.

Your family members may be eligible for study permits if they’re also applying for refugee status. Minor children don’t need a study permit to go to kindergarten, elementary or secondary school.


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