After Your Hearing

IRB-RPD decides your claim for refugee protection at or after your hearing. Understand next steps if your claim is accepted. Learn your options if your claim is rejected.

Get Your Decision

The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada – Refugee Protection Division (IRB-RPD) decides if you can have refugee protection in Canada.

At the end of your refugee hearing, the Member may:

  • Tell you if they accept or reject your refugee claim.
  • Tell you that they will send their decision in the mail. This does not mean they are more likely to reject your claim. You will get your decision in a few weeks or months.
  • Give you extra time to send the Member more information before they make their decision.

Your Refugee Claim is Accepted

If IRB-RPD accepts your refugee claim, you are a Refugee or a Protected Person and you (and your family inside and outside Canada) may apply for permanent residence.

The Minister may want a review of the IRB-RPD decision. If they appeal within 15 days, you have to put your application for permanent residence on hold.

What can I do if the Minister appeals?

If the Minister appeals the decision, they send you a Notice of Appeal. You can respond and give reasons why you disagree with the appeal. For example: 

  • some evidence was ignored,
  • you have new evidence,
  • there were mistakes in the translation, or
  • your country conditions have changed.

Find a legal representative to help you stay as a refugee or a protected person in Canada.

To respond to the appeal, you must:

  • Prepare a Notice of Intent to Respond.
  • Prepare a Respondent’s Record with the reasons why you disagree and any supporting documents.
  • Send a copy of both of these documents to the Minister and to the IRB-RPD or the IRB-RAD by email, fax, or courier.
  • Give the IRB-RPD or the IRB-RAD written proof that you sent your documents to the Minister.
  • Make sure that all your documents are in the right format.
  • Send your documents on time. You have 15 days to send them from the day you get:
    • the supporting document from the Minister, or
    • a notice from the IRB that you can have more time.

See the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada – Refugee Appeal Division (IRB-RAD) website for more information.

Travel outside of Canada

If you plan to travel outside of Canada after you become a refugee or a protected person, apply for a Refugee Travel Document with Passport Canada. If the Minister has appealed, do not leave Canada.

Apply for Permanent Residence

You can only apply for permanent residence (PR) in Canada if the IRB-RPD or the IRB-RAD approve your claim.

You can apply online using the Permanent Residence Portal or send forms by mail or courier. Ask a legal representative to look at your PR application before sending it to IRCC. If you do not have a legal representative, contact a local settlement agency for help finding one.

Prepare the documents

To apply, you must prepare:

If you have dependants outside Canada, you must fill out a separate set of forms for them. For any dependent family members under age 22 (or over 22 with a medical condition) who will join you but are not yet in Canada, you must prepare:

Make paper and digital copies of all the final signed documents to keep for your own records before sending in your application.

Translate documents

For any document (including any stamps and seals) that is not in English or French, you must send in:

  • The English or French translation. See the IRCC website to follow their requirements to translate documents.
  • If you cannot get a certified translator for your identification documents, you can use a non-certified translator. You need:
    • an affidavit from the person who did the translation, and
    • a certified copy of the original document. It must be certified in Canada by a notary public, a commissioner of oaths, or a commissioner for taking affidavits.


An affidavit for a translation is a document that states that the translation is an accurate version of the original. The translator swears this in front of a professional who can take oaths in the country where they live. The person must speak English or French well in order to take the oath.

Who can prepare an affidavit?

In Canada:

  • a notary public
  • a commissioner of oaths
  • a commissioner for taking affidavits

Outside Canada:

  • a notary public or someone with an equal position

You or any of your family members cannot do the affidavit. Even a member of your family who is a lawyer, notary public, or certified translator is not allowed to prepare your affidavit. (This includes a parent, guardian, sibling, spouse, common-law partner, conjugal partner, grandparent, child, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew and first cousin.)

Pay fees

You must pay a fee when you apply for PR for yourself and for any family members. You pay all fees online. To pay your fees, you need:

  • An email address to set up a login and password,
  • Access to a printer (to print the receipt), and
  • A credit card, Debit MasterCard® or Visa® Debit card.

When you are ready to pay:

  • Go to Online Payment.
  • Follow the instructions.
    • At the end, click on the button to print the IRCC official receipt with a barcode. Print two copies.
    • Save a copy on your computer.
    • Email yourself a copy.
    • Attach a printed copy of this receipt to your application.
    • Keep the other copies of the receipt for your records.


If you must give biometrics (such as fingerprints) and you are applying from within Canada, go to a designated Service Canada location. Once you pay the application and biometrics fees, you get a biometric instructions letter (BIL). It gives you a list of biometric collection service points to choose from. You must bring the BIL with you to the biometric collection service point.

Give your biometrics as soon as possible. Nothing happens with your application until you send them in.

Send in your application

You can apply and send in your forms through the online PR portal. Or you can mail in your forms or have a courier deliver them. Remember to make copies of all your documents to keep for your own records.

Mailing address

Protected Persons in Canada application
Box 12153 STN A
Sydney, NS
B1P 0L1

Courier address

Protected Persons in Canada application
3050 Wilson Avenue
New Waterford, NS
B1H 5V8

Final steps

If you did your application properly, IRCC sends you a letter. The letter tells you if you are approved for PR. You will get an email with questions and instructions for some final steps. Your PR card will arrive in the mail. It may take several weeks to get it.

Sometimes, IRCC asks to interview you. They may want you to confirm facts or send them more information. Once IRCC has what they need, you will likely find out your PR status at a final interview.

Protect Your Refugee Status

Can I lose my status in Canada after I get refugee protection?

IRCC may apply to the IRB-RPD to have your Convention Refugee or Protected Person status “vacated” or “ceased” (taken away).

  1. The  IRCC may believe that you gave evidence that is not true or that you hid important facts. The IRB-RPD will ask you to come to a hearing.

    If the IRB-RPD agrees with the IRCC:
    • you cannot enter Canada for five years,
    • you will lose your permanent resident status if you have it, and
    • you cannot appeal the decision to the IRB-RAD. You must apply for judicial review in federal court. Get a lawyer to help you.

You might not lose your protected person status if the IRB-RPD Member decides you gave other good evidence at your refugee hearing.

  1. The  IRCC may believe that:
    • You chose to accept the protection of your country. You may have renewed or applied for a passport from your country, used your old passport, or travelled to your country.
    • You lost citizenship in your country and then chose to reapply for it after getting refugee status in Canada.
    • You got citizenship (and protection) in a new country. 
    • You chose to return to live in your country. 
    • The reasons you asked for protection are now gone and you are no longer in danger in your country. In this case, you may be able to show there are still serious reasons why you cannot go back.

Keep your refugee status in Canada

There are a number of ways to protect your refugee status in Canada:

  • Do not apply for or renew a passport from your former country (or countries). 
  • Do not use your old passport to travel to any country for any purpose.
  • If you need to travel, apply for a Canadian refugee travel document.
  • Do not visit your former country or countries.
  • Make sure that everything you say or give to the IRB-RPD for your refugee hearing is true.
  • Do not exaggerate evidence. 
  • Do not hide any important information about your claim from the IRB-RPD.
  • Use a legal representative with a good reputation to help you with applications. Do not take legal advice from unqualified people or from anyone who tells you to lie.
  • Think carefully before applying for citizenship in another country because it may mean losing your ability to stay in Canada.
  • Apply for Canadian citizenship as soon as you can. Before you apply, talk with a legal representative. You can only lose Canadian citizenship if you get it falsely.
  • Do not commit a crime. For some crimes, Canada can remove a refugee claimant, a protected person, or even a permanent resident.  If you are involved in criminal court, let your lawyer know your status. Ask how being found guilty might change it. Ask your criminal lawyer to contact your immigration lawyer.

Your Refugee Claim is Rejected

If the IRB-RPD reject your claim, it may be because:

  • They do not believe your claim.
  • You did not prove who you are.
  • You did not show you had good reasons to need protection.
  • The authorities in your country are able to protect you.
  • There is a place in your country that is safe and reasonable for you to live in.
  • You are a citizen of or live in another country.
  • You have been involved in serious crime, war crimes, or crimes against humanity.
Options after your claim is rejected

If your claim is rejected, there are still ways to become a permanent resident in Canada. You may be able to:

Appeal to the Immigration and Refugee Board – Refugee Appeal Division (IRB-RAD)

Most refugee claimants can appeal (ask for a review) to the IRB-RAD if the IRB-RPD rejects their claim. The IRB-RAD will tell you if you can appeal. Get a legal representative to help you.

Why you may not be allowed to appeal

You may not be able to appeal to the IRB-RAD if:

  • The IRB-RPD said you did not:
    • show them good reasons to need protection
    • give them evidence they could believe was true
  • You entered Canada as part of the Safe Third Country Agreement
  • You withdrew or abandoned a refugee claim earlier
  • IRB-RPD took away your refugee protection after giving it to you

If you are not allowed to appeal to the IRB-RAD, you may ask the Federal Court to review your claim. Ask a lawyer to look at options, including a “constitutional challenge.” See Judicial Review.

Do your notice of appeal

To start the appeal process, you must:

  • Fill in a Notice of Appeal form.
  • List everyone who is appealing or do a separate notice for each person.
  • Mail three copies of your notice of appeal​ to the registry of the IRB-RAD (or send one copy by email).
  • After you send in the Notice of Appeal form, you will get an Acknowledgement Letter. It has your IRB-RAD registry office and contact information, the date you must file your Appellant’s Record, and explains what will happen next.

Do your appellant’s record

The appellant’s record is where you explain why you do not agree with the IRB-RPD decision.

For your appellant’s record, you must:

  • Fill in an Appellant’s Record form.
  • Follow the instructions in the Appellant’s Guide about what documents and information must be included in your Appellant’s Record.
  • Send the following documents, in this order:
    • All or part of the record of the IRB-RPD hearing. If you choose to do this, you must ask to have a written transcript of the recording that you got with the IRB-RPD decision. You also need to send a statement that the transcript is accurate, signed by the person who made it.
    • Any evidence the IRB-RPD did not allow during or after your refugee hearing. Do not send any documents that you did use as evidence. They are already in your file.
    • A written statement explaining:
      • Whether the evidence you are sending is new evidence that did not exist or was not available to you when your claim was rejected,
      • Whether you are asking for a hearing to be held at the IRB-RAD and if you want to change the location of the hearing, and
      • If you need an interpreter, and the language and dialect.
    • Any other documents that support your appeal.
    • Any law, case law, or other legal document that supports your appeal.
    • A memorandum document (no longer than 30 single-sided pages) that describes:
      • The mistakes made by the IRB-RPD that you want the IRB-RAD to review
      • Where to find these mistakes in the IRB-RPD document or in the recording or transcript of the hearing
      • What decision you want the IRB-RAD to make
  • Review the IRB-RAD Appeal Checklist before sending in your appellant’s record.
  • Mail two copies (or one copy by email) of your appellant’s record to the IRB-RAD.

Send in your IRB-RAD appeal

You must send your appeal documents to the IRB-RAD Registry office in the same region as the IRB-RPD Registry office that sent you the decision about your claim.

IRB-RAD decision

The IRB-RAD Member reviewing your claim can:

  • reject your appeal,
  • decide to give you refugee protection, or
  • send your claim back to a different Member at the IRB-RPD for a new decision.

The IRB-RAD will send you their decision and their reasons. They also send a copy of the decision to IRCC and CBSA.

If your IRB-RAD appeal is approved

If the IRB-RAD decides to approve your appeal, you are a protected person and can apply for permanent residence.

If your IRB-RAD appeal is rejected

If the IRB-RAD rejects your appeal, after 15 days you can no longer legally stay in Canada. CBSA can remove you from Canada if you do not leave within 30 days. You will need an authorization to return to Canada.

You may apply to the Federal Court for a judicial review of the IRB-RAD’s decision. If you do this on time, you do not have to leave Canada.

You might be able to apply to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

You can make a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment if CBSA has not removed you from Canada:

  • within one year of the IRB-RAD’s decision, or
  • within one year after you applied for judicial review.

Judicial Review by the Federal Court of Canada

A judicial review means a Federal Court judge will look at the IRB-RPD or IRB-RAD rejection of your claim or appeal. If the judge decides the Member made a legal mistake, they send your claim back to the IRB-RPD. A different IRB-RPD Member will make a new decision.

You may be able to apply for judicial review if:

  • you are not allowed to appeal to the IRB-RAD
  • the IRB-RAD rejects your appeal

Stay in Canada

If you can stay in Canada depends on the decision you want reviewed. 

  • IRB-RAD decision:
    • You can stay in Canada until the Federal Court makes a decision.
  • IRB-RPD decision:
    • You may need to leave Canada. If CBSA tries to remove you before the judicial review, you can ask for an “administrative stay of removal.” Call your lawyer immediately.

How to apply

To apply for judicial review, you need permission (called leave) from a Federal Court judge.  You must show that the decision on your refugee claim was not fair or reasonable, or that there was an error. A judge looks over your documents and decides if you can get a full judicial review of your claim. If you cannot, your file is closed.

Judicial review

If you are allowed to have a judicial review, the judge will set a date for a hearing. The hearing is the chance for you or your lawyer to speak to the judge about your claim.

If you do not have a lawyer, you need to go to the hearing to make your points. If you have a lawyer, you can choose whether you want to go or not.

Get your decision

You may get the judge’s decision on the day of the hearing or later.

  • If they agree with the IRB-RPD or IRB-RAD decision and say there was no error, you may need to leave Canada. Discuss next steps with your lawyer.
  • If they decide the Member made a legal mistake, they send your claim back to the IRB-RPD. A different IRB-RPD Member will make a new decision. This does not always mean that your refugee claim will be approved.

Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA)

You may be able to apply for a PRRA if you are told you must leave Canada. A PRRA is a chance to ask for protection from being sent back to a country where you would be at risk. You may be told you can apply for a PRRA after your refugee claim is rejected by the IRB, or if you abandoned or withdrew your claim.

Who can apply

CBSA will tell you if you can apply for a PRRA. You cannot just decide to apply for one.

Remain in Canada

If this is your first PRRA application, you will not be told to leave Canada. To make sure you can stay in Canada, be careful to meet the deadlines in your Notification Regarding a PRRA.

You will not be told to leave Canada unless:

  • You say in writing that you will not apply for PRRA
  • You miss the PRRA application deadline
  • Your PRRA application is refused
  • You withdraw or abandon your PRRA application

How to apply

CBSA will give you an application form and instruction guide. Fill in the Application for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment. Any family members in Canada who are 18 years of age or older must do their own form.

Get a lawyer to help you. You need to send in a sworn declaration and evidence. Your lawyer must also prepare written documents (submissions) that describe your situation. These explain why you think you would be at risk if sent back to your country or the country where you usually lived. In these submissions, it is important that you clearly answer the following questions:

  • Why would I be at risk if I was returned to the country? 
  • What kind of risks would I face and why?
  • How are these risks tied to me personally?
  • Can I move to another part of the country?
  • Does everyone else in the country have the same risk?

If your refugee claim or an earlier PRRA application was rejected, you may only give new evidence. This is evidence you got after the rejection, or that you could not get earlier for a good reason. Ask your lawyer to explain the legal test you need to meet to get your evidence accepted.

After you apply

Your application is accepted

If your PRRA application is accepted, you usually become a Convention Refugee or a Protected Person in Canada. After that, you can apply for permanent residence. In some cases, you cannot become a Convention Refugee or a Protected Person in Canada but you can stay in Canada for a while longer. You must leave when things change or it is safe to send you back to your country.

Your application is not accepted

If your PRRA application is rejected, you must leave Canada.

You can apply to the Federal Court of Canada for a judicial review. You will still have to leave Canada unless you ask the court for a “temporary stay of removal.”

Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) Application

A Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) application lets you ask for special permission to stay in Canada while you apply for permanent residence. An H&C is usually a last attempt to stay in Canada.

Who can apply

Before you can make an H&C application, you have to wait for 12 months after the IRB-RPD or IRB-RAD reject your refugee claim.

You may not have to wait to apply if you can show that if you leave Canada:

  • it would not be in the best interests of a child in Canada or outside Canada, or
  • your life (or the life of one of your dependants) would be at risk because of a lack of health care.

Things to consider before you apply

  • While you wait for the decision on your H&C application, you could be removed from Canada.
  • You can stay if you are waiting for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA).
  • If you have a removal order, you must still leave on the removal date unless you apply for an “administrative stay of removal” or for a “stay of removal” before the Federal Court. Ask your lawyer about your chances of getting one of these. 
  • Ask a lawyer about the chance of having your H&C application approved.
  • You must prove you deserve to have your H&C application approved. You must put all the important facts into your application and send in the right documents.
  • Decide whether it is worth the cost. The fees are $550 per adult and $150 per child. If you hire a lawyer, the cost will vary depending on the amount of time involved and the experience of the lawyer.

What to put in your application

Talk to a lawyer because everyone’s situation is different. When applying, keep in mind that IRCC looks for things such as:

  • How connected you are to Canadian life (such as work, school, volunteering)
  • If you are connected because you were unable to leave Canada 
  • Your ties to Canada
  • The best interests of any children involved
  • Health issues
  • Family violence 
  • If separating from a family member would cause serious problems
  • The situation in your country (not related to wanting protection)
  • Any other important issues not related to wanting protection
Best interests of the child

When IRCC considers the best interests of a child, they look for things such as:

  • Age of the child
  • How connected the child is to Canada
  • Conditions in your country 
  • Child’s medical needs
  • Child’s education
  • Child’s gender

How to apply

Gather documents

You must send evidence that supports what you say in your application. For example, you might have documents related to the difficulty you face in your country or the best interests of a child. 

If you do not include all the needed documents, IRCC may send your application back to you. This will slow down your application.

Do the forms

You must do the following forms for all applicants:

Send in your application online with a lawyer who will use the permanent resident representative portal. You will get to review the application before it is sent in.

After you apply

You can update your application right up until you get a decision.

  • If you completed your application properly:
    • Your application will be processed.
    • You may be asked to have an interview, confirm information, or give more details.
  • If your application was incomplete
    • It will be sent back so you can finish it.
  • If your application is approved
    • You will be told in writing and learn the next steps to become a permanent resident (such as a medical exam and background checks).
  • If you do not send the proper payment
    • Your application will not be processed and it will be sent back to you with instructions.
  • If your application is refused
    • You will be told in writing. Discuss next steps with your lawyer.