How to receive Refugee status in Canada
There are currently 41.3 million internally displaced people in the world, and 25.9 million of them are refugees. Of these refugees, over half come from Afghanistan, Syria, and South Sudan. The world is currently seeing a refugee and displacement crisis like never before. Many factors from war, famine, political upheaval, and climate change have combined to exacerbate this displacement. More than ever before, it is vital that displaced people have the information they need to apply for refugee status. In this article, you will be walked through the steps for applying for refugee status in Canada.
The first step in applying for refugee status in Canada is deciding on a location. You have two options: you can apply at a port of entry or at designated Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) locations.
Ports of Entry
Applying at a port of entry means seaports, airports, or land borders. An officer will receive your refugee status claim and decide if it is eligible for referral to the IRB. Once your claim has been deemed eligible, you will be given documentation showing your claim is referred to the IRB. You will have 15 days to complete the forms in your application package and submit them to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).
Applying at IRCC Offices
Designated IRCC offices are equipped to handle refugee claims, so you may choose to make a claim here. You will need to have completed the forms in your application package and bring it with you. Once you arrive in person and present your completed forms, you will be scheduled for an interview with an immigration officer. Once the officer decides that your claim is eligible, you will receive a date for your hearing with the IRB.
Getting an Application Package
Applications need to contain information about you, your family, your background, and why you are claiming refugee status. You can download the application package and begin filling it out immediately. This application package contains all the forms you need to fill out and a guide to help you go through them.
Once it is decided that your refugee claim is eligible, you will be scheduled for and required to attend a hearing at the IRB. The immigration officer will give you a Confirmation of Referral to show that your claim has been referred to the IRB. The IRB will follow up by sending you a Notice to Appear for a Hearing, which will tell you the location and time of the hearing, what time you should arrive, and what to bring with you.
Make sure to bring any and all identification documents to your hearing. This includes passports, driver’s licenses, and any other documentation that helps prove your identity or lends support to your refugee claim. The IRB provides a Claimant’s Guide to help you prepare for your hearing. The IRB will take your claim into consideration and decide whether it qualifies for refugee status.
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