What evidence do I need for my refugee hearing?
At your refugee hearing, you must give that shows:
- who you are,
- how you came to Canada,
- why you left your country, and
- how you meet the definition of a Convention Refugee or person in need of protection.
Your evidence also includes the documents you give to the Refugee Board and any witnesses who testify at your refugee hearing. You don’t have to use witnesses at your hearing but they can help support your claim.
The Board compares your evidence to the evidence in your immigration file. For example, you might have a previous application for a study permit or visitor’s visa, or a previous refugee claim or an immigration application in another country.
You and your legal representative should make sure your evidence is accurate and you have explained any mistakes or differences. If any information is missing, not true, or different from other information, the Refugee Board could refuse your claim. For example, your claim can be refused if:
- the testimony at your refugee hearing is different from the information in your BOC or what you said to the officer when you made your refugee claim
- the information in your BOC is different from other evidence you submitted, for example a medical report or police report
- the information in your BOC is different from what is in your immigration file
You must file all your documents and a list of any witnesses with the Refugee Board at least 10 days before your hearing. If you miss the time limit, get legal help right away. Sometimes, if you have a good reason, the time limit can be extended but it doesn’t happen often.
Even if you don’t have many supporting documents, your refugee claim could still be accepted. Some documents might be impossible to get because they are lost or destroyed. Or it might be too dangerous for you to contact the people who have information or evidence to support your claim.
Keep notes of what you or others did to try to get evidence and what happened when you tried. You can explain at your hearing what you did to try to get the documents and why you could not get them. If someone else tried to help you, see if you can get a letter or affidavit from them about what they did to try to get evidence.
Translate your documents
If your documents aren’t in English or French, you must have them translated. You can find a translator through the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario. It’s best not to use family members to translate documents.
You must provide the translations and a translator’s declaration with the documents. The translator’s declaration must include:
- the language of the original document and the dialect, if any
- the translator’s name and statement that they are fluent in the language of the original document as well as English or French
- a statement that the translation is accurate
- the signature of the translator and date of the translation