3. Find out what happens if you’re eligible

If the immigration officer decides that you’re eligible to make a refugee claim, you’ll be allowed to stay in Canada until your claim is decided by the Refugee Board. The officer will ask you to sign a document that includes conditions. For example, that:

  • you provide your address information to the CBSA, IRCC, and Refugee Board before you move, and
  • you show up for appointments, hearing dates, and for your removal from Canada if your refugee claim and any appeals you make are unsuccessful.

The officer will also give you a “Confirmation of Referral” Form that confirms that your claim will be sent to the Refugee Board to decide if you’re a Convention Refugee or a

The Confirmation of Referral does not include a hearing date.  When your hearing is scheduled the Refugee Board sends you a Notice to Appear, with the date, time, and location, at least 20 days before the hearing. The Notice will come by mail, so it is very important to update your address information with the CBSA, IRCC, and Refugee Board if you move.

The officer will give you a copy of your passport and other identity documents. They keep the originals until after the hearing. 

The officer will also give you a “Refugee Claimant document” and an “Interim Federal Health Certificate of Eligibility.” These documents allow you to get health care and social assistance, and enroll your children in school while you’re waiting for your hearing. You will also receive a list of doctors and a medical information form. You must schedule a medical examination within 30 days of your interview.

Some claims are referred for expedited processing. This allows the Refugee Board to decide certain claims with a shorter hearing or without a hearing at all.

Get legal help

If you didn’t get legal help to complete your forms before your interview, a lawyer should still review your forms and documents before your hearing, if possible.

A lawyer can review your documents to make sure the information you provide is accurate. They can also make sure that any previous mistakes or inconsistencies are explained to reduce the risk they will be used against you at your refugee hearing.

A lawyer can also help you understand what you should try to get and how to start preparing for your hearing. 

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