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Refugee Visa in Canada

Refugee Visa in Canada


Canada is a signatory to the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol. Each year Canada grants permanent residence to approximately 30,000 refugees under an elaborate refugee protection process comprising of two main components, the Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program administered outside Canada and the In-Canada Refugee Protection Process.

A convention refugee is a person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.

A person in need of protection is a person in Canada whose removal to their country of nationality or former habitual residence would subject them to the possibility of torture, risk of life, or risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.

A majority of approved refugees are granted asylum status inside Canada and make their claim at a Canadian port of entry or at an inland Canada Immigration Centre office.


You can apply for refugee status at any port of entry when you arrive in Canada. This means an airport, seaport or land border.

If the officer decides your refugee claim is eligible, they give you

  • Confirmation of Referral letter
  • This letter confirms that we referred your claim to the IRB.
  • Basis of Claim form
  • You have 15 days to complete this form and submit it to the Refugee Protection Division office shown on your Confirmation of Referral letter.

Work or study while waiting for a decision on your refugee claim

If you want to work or study while waiting for your refugee claim decision, let us know by using the “Schedule 12 – Additional information” form available in your application package. You don’t need to submit a separate application or pay extra fees.

If you’re eligible and they approve your permit, they will mail it to you after you pass your medical exam.

If you’re not eligible to make a refugee claim

If they find that you’re not eligible to make a refugee claim, you’ll be issued a removal order.

2. Go to a hearing

If you’re eligible to make a refugee claim, the IRB will send you a Notice to Appear for a hearing. This notice will tell you:

  • where to go for your hearing
  • when to get there
  • when it starts

After your hearing, the IRB will approve or refuse your refugee claim.

The hearing although non adversarial in nature usually takes place in the presence of the applicant’s legal counsel and the government’s refugee claims officer. If approved the claimant may apply for permanent residence from within Canada. The process generally concludes in about 18 months.

Prior to the hearing claimants may be entitled under Canadian law to obtain employment authorization or student authorization.

Certain categories of individuals are not eligible to have their claim referred to the IRB.

After your hearing

After your refugee hearing, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) approves or rejects your refugee claim.

If the IRB accepts your claim, you get “protected person” status. This means you can stay in Canada, and you can apply to become a permanent resident of Canada.

If the IRB rejects your claim, you’ll have to leave Canada. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible to appeal the IRB’s decision. You may also have other options.

Resettlement from outside Canada

Bringing refugees in Canada from outside the country is known as resettlement. In order to come to Canada as a refugee, you cannot apply directly; instead, you have to be referred by the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), a designated referral organization, or a private sponsorship group.

The above organizations will not refer you unless you fall into one of these following two refugee classes:


Convention refugee abroad class

If you are currently living outside of your home country and it’s impossible for you to return due to some well-founded fears of oppression based on your religion, race, political views, nationality, or membership in a certain social group, you are in this class. If you have enough funds that are necessary to support yourself and your family after your arrival in Canada, you can still be a convention refugee .As a convention refugee, you can be sponsored by:

• The Canadian government.

• A group of people or an organization.

• A mix of both.

Country of asylum class

If you are currently living outside your country because of some civil wars or armed conflict in your country, or you had been denied basic human rights you are in the country of asylum class. Even if you have sufficient money to support yourself and your family after you arrive in Canada, you still belong to this category. As a country of asylum class refugee, you can be privately sponsored.


You will be considered eligible to make a refugee claim under this category if:

·      You don’t have another stable resettlement offer from another country.

·      You are not a citizen of another country that can protect you.

·      You will never go back to your home country.

·      The reasons you left your country still exist.

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