Your eligibility interview with IRCC

You will be interviewed and asked questions so that IRCC can decide if you are eligible to make a claim in Canada. This is called the eligibility interview. This interview is not your refugee hearing.

What will happen during the eligibility interview

During your appointment, an IRCC officer will:

  • Review your application (BOC Form and all the information from the IRCC Portal) and ask you questions about the information you provided
  • Give you a conditional removal order, which will become enforceable if you are not approved at your refugee hearing as a refugee or protected person in Canada
  • Ask you to confirm the names, dates, places of birth and contact information of your family members
  • Interview you to decide if your claim is eligible. An interpreter will be provided at no cost to you.

Some of the questions you may be asked are:

  • Why did you come to Canada?
  • Who or what are you afraid of in your country?
  • What would happen to you if you returned to your country?
  • Have you ever been arrested, or detained?
  • Have you made a refugee claim in another country?
  • In what countries do you have legal residence or citizenship?
  • How did you travel to Canada?
  • Who helped you come to Canada?
  • Do you have any relatives in Canada?
If you are found to be eligible to make a refugee claim

If IRCC decides that you are eligible to make a refugee claim, IRCC will:

  • Give you a Confirmation of Referral letter and send your claim to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada – Refugee Protection Division (IRB-RPD), who will contact you about your hearing date once they have reviewed your file  
  • Give you a Refugee Protection Claimant Document (RPCD).  The RPCD proves your identity and that you are a refugee claimant in Canada. With this document you are eligible for medical services through the Interim Federal Health Program . You will need this form to access other services and benefits in Canada. The form has your UCI number
  • Explain the next steps in the claim process to you, including that you must update the government agencies that are involved in your claim when you change your contact information. It is very important to keep IRCC, CBSA,  and the IRB-RPD updated with your current address, email address and phone number
  • Give you a Claimant’s Kit which will include certified copies of the travel and identity documents that IRCC took from you, a Claimant’s Guide, and possibly a written copy of the questions you were asked and answers you gave at your eligibility interview (which are also sent to the IRB, where you will have your refugee hearing).

After a successful eligibility interview you will wait for your refugee hearing that will take place before the IRB-RPD. 

If you are found eligible to make a refugee claim, start thinking about what types of evidence you can start to gather to support your refugee claim. 

If you are found to be ineligible to make a refugee claim

You may not be eligible to make a refugee claim in Canada if:

  • You have convention refugee status in another country that you can return to
  • You previously made a refugee claim in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand
  • You previously made a refugee claim in Canada that was refused, abandoned, or withdrawn
  • You were previously found ineligible to make a refugee claim in Canada
  • You pose a danger to public security or have committed a serious crime or a human rights violation
  • You arrived at a Canadian POE from the United States and were not given permission to enter Canada to make a refugee claim (Safe Third Country Agreement), but later entered without permission.
  • You have previously been granted protected person status in Canada 
  • You currently have an active removal order from the Canadian government.

If you are found not eligible to make a refugee claim, your case will not be referred to the IRB-RPD and you will be issued an enforceable removal order. You may be detained. You may be released with conditions to report for a future appointment, where you may be offered a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA)

Withdrawing your refugee claim

If you decide to withdraw your refugee claim, the conditional removal order that you were given at your eligibility interview becomes enforceable, meaning that you can be removed from Canada.  You will not be able to change your mind or make another refugee claim in the future.  Talk to your legal representative before you take this action.

Next guide section: 5 Prepare for Your Hearing