After Your hearing

A decision will be made on your claim for refugee protection at or after your hearing. Understand next steps if you get a positive decision. Learn your options if you receive a negative decision.

Receiving Your Decision

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

At the end of your refugee hearing the Member may:

  • Tell you their decision to accept or reject your refugee claim (oral decision)
  • Tell you that they will send their decision to accept or reject your refugee claim in the mail (reserve decision). If your decision is reserved it does not mean there is a greater likelihood that your claim will be denied
  • Provide you with extra time to submit submissions or provide evidence prior to rendering a decision.

Positive Decision

If you receive a positive IRB-RPD decision, you are a Protected Person and you (and family inside and outside Canada) may apply for permanent residence.

If the Minister appeals your positive decision within 15 days, you will need to put your permanent residence application on hold.

What can I do if the Minister appeals my positive IRB-RPD decision to the IRB-Refugee Appeal Division?

If the Minister appeals your IRB-RPD positive decision, you will be notified and will have the opportunity to respond.

Find a legal representative to assist you with keeping your protected status in Canada.

When you respond, you must:

  • Submit a Notice of Intent to Respond
  • Prepare your respondent’s record
  • Provide a copy of your Notice of Intent to Respond and your respondent’s record to the Minister and then to the IRB-RAD no later than 15 days after the day on which you receive a supporting document from the Minister
  • Give the IRB-RAD proof that you provided the Notice of Intent to Respond and the respondent’s record to the Minister
  • Make sure that all of the documents you provide are in the right format
  • Provide your documents on time.

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

Traveling outside of Canada

If you plan to travel outside of Canada after you have received Protected Person status, apply for a Refugee Travel Document with Passport Canada. You can apply for and use a Refugee Travel Document as soon as you have received the IRB-RPD decision granting you Protected Person status.  If there has been an appeal of your positive decision by the Minster, do not leave Canada.

Applying for Permanent Residence

To apply for permanent residence (PR) in Canada you must have received a positive devision from the IRB-RPD.

You can choose to apply online Sign in | Permanent Residence Portal or via mail.

For support through the PR process, contact a settlement agency in your region.  Ask a legal representative to review your PR application before submitting it to IRCC.

Gather and complete the required forms and documents

The following are the forms that must be filled out and submitted:

In addition to completed application forms for yourself, please submit the following for your dependent family members who you wish to accompany you and are currently residing outside of Canada:

Translate Documents

You must submit the following for any document that is not in English or French:

  • The English or French translation; and
  • An affidavit from the person who completed the translation (if they are not a certified translator)
  • A certified copy of the original document – this must be certified in Canada by a notary public, a commissioner of oaths, or a commissioner of taking affidavits

Pay fees

You must pay a processing fee when you submit your application for PR for yourself and all family members included in your application.

To pay your fees for your application you’ll need:

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

Visit the link below and follow these instructions to pay:

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

Biometrics

If you are required to give biometrics and you are applying from within Canada, you can go to a designated Service Canada location. Once you’ve paid the application and biometrics fees, you’ll get a biometric instructions letter (BIL), which will direct you to a list of biometric collection service points you may choose from. You must bring the BIL with you to the biometric collection service point. You cannot give your biometrics without this letter.

Give your biometrics as soon as possible after you get the BIL, as your application will not begin being processed until these are received.

Submit Application

Submit your application through the online portal.

If you prefer to apply for permanent residence by mail, applications should be submitted to the new Digitization Center at the addresses below.  

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

Please make copies of the application and documents to keep for your own records.

Next steps

If your application has been properly completed and includes all the required documents, a letter will be sent to you informing you of the decision on your case and what you must do next.

Currently, the finalization stage for your PR or landing is done online. You will receive an email with questions and instructions to confirm your permanent residency. Your PR card will arrive in the mail according to IRCC processing timelines, which do vary.

In less common situations, an interview may be arranged to verify or expand on information contained in your application. After you and your included family members in Canada and abroad have met immigration requirements, the immigration office will contact you to arrange a final interview. You will likely be given your PR status at that meeting.

Protecting Your Refugee Status

Can I lose my status in Canada after my application for refugee protection is approved?

IRCC may apply to the IRB-RPD to have your Protected Person status taken away in two ways:

  1. IRCC will make an application to vacate your refugee protection if they believe that you won your refugee claim by providing evidence that is not true or hiding important facts which were important to your claim. The IRB-RPD will schedule you for a hearing on the application.

    If the application to vacate your status is approved there are serious consequences:
    • You will be inadmissible to Canada for 5 years
    • You will lose your permanent resident status if you have it, and
    • There is no right to appeal the IRB-RPD decision to the IRB-RAD. To fight the decision, you must apply for judicial review in federal court.

The IRCC’s application to take away your refugee status may be rejected if the Member believes that there was enough other good evidence presented at your refugee hearing to allow your claim to be approved.

  1. IRCC will make an application to the IRB-RPD to cease your refugee status in Canada if they believe:
    • You voluntarily accepted the protection of your country of nationality. This is called “re-availment.” IRCC may believe that you have accepted the protection of your country if you, renew or apply for a passport from your country, used your old passport, or travel to your country
    • You voluntarily applied to regain an old citizenship that you lost. These cases are rare. IRCC will try to convince the IRB-RPD to end your refugee protection if you lost citizenship in your country and then reapplied for it after getting refugee status in Canada
    • You acquired citizenship in a new country. In this case, IRCC may try to take away your refugee status because you have been given citizenship and protection in another country and no longer need Canada’s protection
    • You voluntarily return to live in your country. If IRCC believes you have returned to your country to live, they will try to convince the IRB-RPD to take away your refugee status
    • The reasons that you asked for refugee protection no longer exist and you are no longer in danger in your country. If you can show that there are serious reasons why you cannot return to the country where you were previously persecuted this reason will not apply to you.

What you can do to protect your refugee status in Canada

 There are a number of things you can do to protect your status in Canada, including:

  • Do not apply for or renew a passport from your country or countries of nationality if you have been granted refugee protection in Canada
  • Do not use your country 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 country or countries of nationality
  • Make sure that the evidence, documents, forms and testimony which you provide to the IRB-RPD for your refugee hearing are true and correct
  • Do not exaggerate evidence or provide information to the IRB-RPD that you know is not true
  • Do not hide information that is important about your refugee claim from the IRB-RPD
  • Use a legal representative with a good reputation to assist you with your applications in Canada. Do not take legal advice from people who are not allowed to practice immigration law or who advise you to misrepresent your case
  • Think carefully before applying for citizenship in another country because it may mean losing your ability to stay in Canada as a protected person or permanent resident
  • Apply for Canadian citizenship as soon as you are eligible. When you apply, your immigration file will be examined by IRCC to make sure you qualify and have not done anything to make you inadmissible. Before you apply for Canadian citizenship, consult with a legal representative. Once you become a Canadian citizen you cannot lose your status unless you obtained your status through misrepresentation
  • Do not commit a crime that will make you removable from Canada. There are some crimes that can cause removal of a refugee claimant, protected person and even a permanent resident.  If you are involved in a criminal matter before the courts, let your criminal lawyer know your immigration status and ask how a conviction might affect your status in Canada.

Negative Decision

Reasons for a negative decision

You may receive a negative decision on your refugee claim. Some reasons the IRB-RPD will deny your claim are:

  • They do not find your claim to be credible
  • You have not proven your identity
  • A well-founded fear of persecution was not established
  • The authorities in your country are able to protect you
  • Another place in your country was identified as being a safe and reasonable place for you to live
  • You are excluded for having another citizenship or residency or for serious nonpolitical crime, war crimes or crimes against humanity.
Options after receiving a negative decision

If you receive a negative decision on your refugee claim, there are still options for you to gain permanent residence in Canada. These include:

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

The IRB-RAD gives most refugee claimants the opportunity to have the negative decision made by the IRB-RPD reviewed. If you receive a negative IRB-RPD decision you will be told if you are eligible to appeal to the IRB-RAD. It is strongly recommended that you get a legal representative to assist you with the appeal process.

Ineligibility to appeal

Reasons you may not be eligible to appeal the IRB-RPD decision to the IRB-RAD include:

  • The IRB-RPD decided that your refugee claim is manifestly unfounded
  • The IRB-RPD decided that there was no credible or trustworthy evidence provided to allow them to make a positive decision in your case
  • You entered Canada under an exception to the Safe Third Country Agreement
  • You previously withdrew or abandoned your refugee claim
  • Your refugee protection was “ceased” or “vacated” by the IRB-RPD. 

If your refugee claim was denied at the IRB-RPD and you are not eligible to appeal to the IRB-RAD, you may ask the Federal Court to review your negative IRB-RPD decision. See Judicial Review.

File a notice of appeal

To start the appeal process, you must:

  • Provide three copies (or one only if submitted electronically) of your Notice of Appeal​ to the Registry of the IRB-RAD
  • Every person appealing with you must be listed on the Notice of Appeal or a Notice of Appeal for each person appealing the decision must be provided to the IRB-RAD
  • After the Notice of Appeal form is submitted, you will receive an Acknowledgement Letter which confirms the receipt of your appeal notice, outlines your IRB-RAD Registry Office and contact information, shows the date you must file your Appellant’s Record, and explains the procedure.

File your appellant’s record

The Appellant’s Record is where you provide your arguments against the IRB-RPD decision.

To file your appellant’s record, you must:

  • Complete an Appellant’s Record
  • Provide two copies (or one, if submitted electronically) ​of your Appellant’s Record to the IRB-RAD
  • Read and comply with the instructions about what documents and information must be included in your Appellant’s Record, found in the Appellant’s Guide
  • Submit the following documents, in this order:
    • All or part of the transcript of the IRB-RPD hearing, if you want to use it in support of your appeal. Note that you are not required to submit a transcript. However, if you want to use one in support of your appeal, you must arrange to have it produced from the recording that was provided to you with the IRB-RPD decision. You also need to provide a statement that the transcript is accurate, signed by the person who made it.
    • Any evidence the IRB-RPD refused to accept at your refugee hearing. You may submit documents in support of your appeal, that the IRB-RPD refused to accept as evidence during or after your refugee hearing. Do not submit any documents that were used as evidence during your refugee hearing, as they are already included in your file.
    • A written statement explaining:
      • Whether you are submitting new evidence that did not exist or was not available to you when your refugee protection claim was rejected
      • Whether you are asking for an oral hearing to be held at the IRB-RAD
      • If you are asking for an oral hearing, whether you are also asking to change the location of the hearing; and
      • If you need an interpreter, the language and dialect, if any, to be interpreted.
    • Any other documentary evidence that supports your appeal
    • Legal authorities. This means any law, case law or other legal authority that supports your appeal.
    • A memorandum (no longer than 30 single-sided pages) which is a document that gives as many details as possible about:
      • The specific mistakes made by the IRB-RPD that you want the IRB-RAD to review
      • Where to find these mistakes in the IRB-RPD reasons 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 submitting your Appellant’s Record

Submitting your IRB-RAD appeal

You must send your appeal documents to the IRB-RAD Registry office that is located in the same region as the IRB-RPD Registry office that provided the notice of decision to you.

The IRB-RAD decision

The IRB-RAD Member reviewing your appeal has three options when making a decision:

  • Confirm the RPD decision (your appeal is rejected)
  • Change the RPD decision (your appeal is allowed), or
  • Send your case back to the IRB-RPD for a new decision with instructions to the new IRB-RPD Member.

The IRB-RAD will send you a written Notice of Decision, which includes reasons for the decision. A copy of the decision is sent to IRCC and CBSA.

If your IRB-RAD appeal is approved

If the IRB-RAD disagrees with the negative IRB-RPD decision and replaces it with a positive decision, you will receive protected person status and can apply for permanent residence.

If your IRB-RAD appeal is rejected

If the IRB-RAD rejects your appeal, the conditional removal order you were given when you first made your refugee claim will become enforceable 15 days after you are notified of the IRB-RAD’s decision. CBSA can start the process to remove you from Canada if you do not leave within 30 days, and 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 file this application on time, your removal order will be stopped.

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

If you haven’t been removed from Canada within one year of the IRB-RAD’s decision or one year from your application to ask for judicial review of the IRB-RAD decision, you will be eligible for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment .

Judicial Review by the Federal Court of Canada

In an application for judicial review you ask a Federal Court judge to review the IRB-RPD or IRB-RAD decision to determine if the Member made a legal mistake.

Judicial review is a reconsideration of your decision, not an appeal. The Federal Court cannot make a new decision, and cannot interfere with a decision that is supported by proper evidence, even if the Federal Court might have reached a different conclusion on those facts. If the Federal Court decides there has been a legal mistake, then it can set the original decision aside, reopen your case, and refer it back to be reconsidered by a different IRB-RPD Member.

You may be eligible to apply for judicial review at the Federal Court of Canada if:

  • If you are not eligible to appeal to the IRB-RAD
  • If you received a negative decision on your appeal to the IRB-RAD.

Staying in Canada

The status of your removal order depends on which IRB division made the decision you are asking the Federal Court to review. For decisions made by the:

  • IRB-RAD:
    • Your removal order is on hold. You can stay in Canada until the Federal Court makes a decision.
  • IRB-RPD:
    • Your removal order is not on hold. You may need to leave Canada.
    • In these situations, if CBSA attempts to remove you before your judicial review application is decided, you must ask an administrative stay of removal to CBSA. Call your lawyer immediately if you are called in by CBSA for removal procedures.

How to apply for Judicial Review

Submit an Application for Leave

If you wish to apply for judicial review, the first step is to obtain leave from a judge of the Federal Court. In this stage, you must demonstrate that the decision on your refugee claim was not fair or reasonable, or that there was an error. The Federal Court reviews the documents about your case.

If the Federal Court gives leave, this means that the decision on your refugee claim will be examined in depth. If the Federal Court dismisses the leave application, the application for Judicial Review is also dismissed and the file will be closed.

Judicial review

If you are granted leave, your case will proceed to an oral hearing for judicial review. The judge will render an order scheduling the steps and timelines for your lawyer to follow prior to the hearing date.

If you are not represented by a lawyer, you will need to be present at the hearing to argue your case. If you are represented by a lawyer, you do not need to attend but you may choose to do so.

Federal Court of Canada decisions

You may receive the decision on the judicial review application from the judge on the day of the hearing or at a later date.

  • If the Court agrees with the IRB-RPD or IRB-RAD’s decision and finds there was no error, you may need to leave Canada. Discuss next steps with your lawyer
  • If the Court returns your case to the IRB-RPD or IRB-RAD, your case will go back to the IRB to be reviewed by a new Member. This does not necessarily mean that the original decision will be reversed.

Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA)

You may be eligible to apply for a PRRA if you are being removed from Canada. This is an opportunity to seek protection from removal to a country where you would be at risk of persecution.

Eligibility

CBSA will notify you if you are eligible to apply for a PRRA. You cannot preemptively apply for a PRRA.

Remaining in Canada

If this is your first PRRA application, you are now benefiting from a stay of your removal order. As such, the arrangements to enforce your removal from Canada have been suspended. To ensure that the stay of your removal order remains in effect while your application is being processed, you must submit your application within the deadlines specified in your Notification Regarding a PRRA.

You will not be removed from Canada until:

  • You make a submission saying that you don’t plan on applying for PRRA
  • You miss the PRRA application deadline
  • Your PRRA application is refused
  • You withdraw or abandon your PRRA application.

How to apply

If you are eligible, CBSA will give you an application form and instruction guide. You will be able to apply before you are removed from Canada.

To apply for a PRRA, you must complete and submit the Application for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (IMM 5508) (given to you by CBSA). All of your family members in Canada who are 18 years of age or older and who are also applying for a PRRA must complete their own form.

Written submissions

You must also include written submissions in your application. Written submissions give you the opportunity to describe your situation. It is in your written submissions that you can explain why you think that you would be at risk if removed to your country of nationality or former habitual residence.

In your written submissions, it is important that you clearly answer the following questions:

  • Why would I be at risk if I was returned to my country of nationality or habitual residence?
  • What kind of risks would I face and why?
  • How do these risks concern me directly and personally?
  • Could I escape these risks by moving to another city or region of my country?
  • How does my situation compare with the situation of the rest of the population in my country of nationality or habitual residence?

If you have had a refugee claim or a previous PRRA application rejected, you may only provide new evidence, which has arisen since the rejection. New evidence includes: evidence that arose after the rejection, or that was not normally accessible, or that you could not reasonably have been expected in the circumstances to have presented at the time of rejection.

After your application

Positive decision:

If your PRRA application is accepted, in most cases, you become a protected person in Canada. After that, you can apply for permanent residence.

In some cases, your PRRA application will be accepted, but you won’t be eligible to become a protected person, if you are: inadmissible for serious criminality and at risk if you go back to your home country. In these situations, you can stay in Canada until things change or it is safe to send you to your home country.

Negative decision:

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

If you disagree with the decision, you can also apply to the Federal Court of Canada for a review. You 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 allows you to ask for special permission to stay in Canada while your permanent residence application is being processed. This is usually used as a last attempt to stay in Canada.

Eligibility

If you have received a negative decision on your refugee claim you are not able to submit a H&C application if less than 12 months has passed since a negative decision from the IRB-RPD or IRB-RAD.

You can be exempt from the 12 months wait if:

  • Forcing you to leave Canada would not be in the best interests of a child in Canada or outside Canada who’s directly affected by you leaving, or
  • Your life or the life of one of your dependents would be at risk because one of you would not be able to get necessary health or medical or psychological care if you were forced to leave.

Things to consider prior to making a H&C application

  • An H&C application does not prevent you from being deported, unless you’re waiting for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA).
  • If you are under a removal order and decide to submit an application for permanent residence based on H&C, it will not delay your removal from Canada. You must leave on the specified removal date. Your application will continue to be processed and you will be notified of the decision in writing.
  • The chances of succeeding in an H&C application depend on your particular situation. Consult a lawyer to see your chances of having your H&C approved.
  • You must prove you deserve to have your H&C application approved ― you are responsible for providing the appropriate information and documentation. You are responsible for making sure that all circumstances and factors that you wish to have considered are provided in your application.
  • Applying for H&C is not free: The government fees are $550 per adult and $150 per child. If you decide to hire a lawyer to help with your application, the cost will likely be high due to the amount of work involved. Before you apply for H&C, decide whether it is worth the expense.

Factors that may be considered in your application

When completing your application, it is important to keep in mind some of the factors that may be considered when your application is being accessed. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Establishment in Canada (which can include financial, professional, academic, volunteer)
  • An inability to leave Canada that has led to establishment
  • Ties to Canada
  • Best interests of any children affected by your application
  • Health considerations
  • Family violence considerations
  • Consequences of your separation from relative
  • Factors in your country of origin (not related to seeking protection)
  • Any other relevant factors you wish to have considered that are not related to seeking protection.
Best interests of the child

The best interests of any children directly affected by the decision made on your application will be taken into consideration in the assessment of your application.

Factors related to the best interests of the child may include but are not limited to the:

  • Age of the child
  • Child’s establishment in Canada
  • Conditions in the country of origin that could impact the child
  • Medical needs of the child
  • Child’s education, or
  • Child’s gender.

How to apply

Gather documents

You must provide evidence that will support any statement you make on your application. Include any additional supporting document(s) explaining your hardship, best interests of a child, or any other factor you may want considered.

If you do not include all required documents, your application may be returned to you, which will cause delays in the processing of your application.

Complete the application

The following are the forms that must be completed and submitted for all applicants:

Submit your application

Mail your application to:

IRCC – Humanitarian Migration Vancouver

#300 – 800 Burrard Street

Vancouver, BC

V6Z 0B6

After your application

Until you receive a decision, you can and should continue to update your application.

You may receive the following communication after submitting this application.

  • If your application is received and properly completed
    • Your application will be processed
    • You may be contacted to arrange an interview, or to verify or expand on information contained in your application.
  • If your application is received and incomplete
    • Your application will be returned to you.
  • If your application is approved
    • You will be informed in writing and provided with further information on the next steps to proceed to obtain your permanent residence status (i.e. medical instructions, background checks).
  • If your application is refused
    • You will be informed in writing. Discuss next steps with your lawyer.
  • If your application is received with insufficient or nonpayment of fees
    • Your application will not be processed, and it will be returned to you with further instructions.