accepts people as refugees if they have a well-founded
fear of persecution on certain grounds. These
grounds are race, religion, nationality, political
opinion and being member of a particular social
group. Recognized social groups include Lesbian,
Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) and HIV+
people. Political opinion can also include the
work of LGBT activists and HIV activists. It is
possible to claim well-founded fear of persecution
on multiple grounds. There have been successful
claims made in Canada by LGBT and HIV+ people
who are afraid to return to their country because
of fear of persecution.
are 2 ways to claim refugee status.
Canada or at a port of entry
Canada, at a Canadian embassy, consulate, or
High Commission that is outside your own country
Making Refugee Claims in Canada
person who is in Canada as a temporary resident
(visitor, student, worker) can apply at the Canada
Immigration Office closest to where they live.
a person arrives at a Canadian Port
of Entry and makes a claim, Immigration will
first make sure the person is eligible to make
such an application. Be prepared to answer questions
about your background and the reasons you left
your country. Answer all questions fully and truthfully.
You will not be allowed to have a lawyer at your
not destroy any travel or identity documents before
you make your refugee claim. Immigration will
seize these documents when you make your claim.
You can request Immigration provides you with
a certified copy of any documents they seize.
thing that makes someone NOT eligible is passing
through what is called a Safe Third Country. In
this case, they must make a claim for asylum/refugee
status in that country. At the moment there is
no safe third country. However, soon the United
States will be considered a safe third country.
There is an agreement between Canada and the US
that will make each country a Safe Third Country.
It will come into effect in 2004,
now it is possible to arrive at a border crossing
with the USA and make an application to enter
Canada as a Refugee Claimant. It is also possible
to pass through a US airport in transit and make
a refugee claim in Canada. However, once the Safe
Third Country Agreement comes into effect people
will not be able to make a claim in Canada if
they first arrive in the US. This includes arriving
at an airport in transit.
people who make a refugee claim there will be
forms to complete with personal information. After
some months, there will be a hearing that will
decide if the person meets the definition of a
refugee or a person in need of protection. You
can get more information about the forms and the
hearing by reading the Immigration & Refugee Board
who make refugee claims in Canada may be able
to get support:
assistance to support themselves before they
aid to pay for a lawyer who can represent them
Making Refugee Claims Outside of Canada
making refugee claims outside of Canada must apply
to a Canadian Visa office outside of their own
make a refugee claim you must
the definition of a refugee or person in need
a referral from the United
Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHRC)
undertaking for private sponsorship
application submitted without one of these documents
will be considered incomplete and be returned
to the applicant.
an application for a Permanent Residence visa.
An immigration officer will review the claim
and decide if the applicant is refugee or a
person in need of protection.
Source Country Class
a few specific countries, people can apply to
come to Canada while still in their own country.
If you live in these countries, you can apply
and do not need the referral from UNHRC or a private
sponsorship. You can make the application directly
to the visa office serving that country. You must
be a convention refugee or a person in need of
these countries are:
of Canadian Consulate
Country of Asylum Class
Country of Asylum class includes people who are
outside their country of citizenship or habitual
residence. Refugees in this class are seriously
and personally affected by:
violations of human rights.
selected under this class must be privately sponsored
or have adequate financial means to support themselves
and their dependents.