When I came to Canada, I claimed refugee status at the airport. I was given a Basis of Claim Form to fill out. What are the rules about when and how to file it with the Immigration and Refugee Board?

Question: 
When I came to Canada, I claimed refugee status at the airport. I was given a Basis of Claim Form to fill out. What are the rules about when and how to file it with the Immigration and Refugee Board?
Answer: 

If you made your refugee claim at a port-of-entry, you have 15 days from the date of your eligibility interview to file your completed Basis of Claim (BOC) Form with the Refugee Protection Division (RPD). You must give the original and one copy of your BOC Form to the RPD. Make sure you keep a copy of your completed BOC Form.

You can file the BOC Form by

  • taking it to the RPD yourself,
  • having a courier deliver it, or
  • faxing it to the RPD if you have no more than 20 pages in total.

You cannot file your documents by email.

You should ask for proof that you filed the BOC Form with the RPD in case you need to prove that you filed it and the date.

If you file it or had a courier deliver it, you should include an extra copy. The RPD can date-stamp the extra copy. If you fax the Form, get a fax confirmation sheet. Bring proof of filing and the original BOC Form to your hearing.

If you cannot meet the 15-day deadline for filing your BOC Form

Write to the RPD at least 3 working days before the deadline and ask for an extension of time. Say why you need more time. If it is for medical reasons, you must include medical evidence. The Refugee Protection Division has detailed rules on the evidence you need to submit.

It is difficult to get an extension of time to file the BOC Form, especially if the request is not for medical reasons. If you do not hear back before the deadline, file your BOC Form even if it is incomplete. Say in your BOC Form that you will provide additional information as soon as you can.

Making changes to your Basis of Claim Form

You can make changes and additions to your Basis of Claim Form after you have filed it with the RPD. You might need to do this, for example, if you did not have enough time to complete the Form properly. The rules say you must do this no later than 10 days before your hearing date.

Getting legal help

Applying for refugee status in Canada is complicated. It is easy to make a serious mistake. It is important to try to get legal help. For more information visit:  http://refugeehearing.cleo.on.ca/legal-help/

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