Individuals who fear returning to their country of Citizenship

Refugee Claim Inside of Canada

Refugee Claim Arvin Afzali Refugee Lawyer located in Toronto, Ontario

Refugee Claim inside of Canada

Individuals who fear returning to their home country may be able to claim refugee protection in Canada. 

It is advisable to have a refugee lawyer assist you in understanding the steps and procedures to be able to claim refugee protection in Canada as not all cases would allow a person to obtain protection in Canada.

Who is a refugee claimant?


A refugee claimant is a person who is either a convention refugee or a person in need of protection.

The Refugee Protection Division will determine if a person is a Convention refugee or a person in need of protection.

Convention refugees are defined as individuals who is outside of their home country or the country they normally live in. They are not able to return because of a well-founded fear of persecution based on:

  • race
  • religion
  • political opinion
  • nationality, or
  • membership in a social group, such as women or people of a particular sexual orientation.

person in need of protection is a person in Canada who cannot return to their home country safely. 

This is because if they return to their home country, they believe that they would be subject to a:

  • danger of torture
  • risk to their life, or
  • risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
Individuals should visit the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada’s website or review the following video as a starting point:

When is a person not Eligible to make a refugee claim in Canada?

Some individuals may not be able to make a refugee Claim in Canada if they:

  • Have been determined to be a Convention Refugee or Protected person in another country and they can return to that country or in Canada; or
  • arrived via the Canada-United States of America border and the Safe Third Country Agreement Applied to you, see below; or
  • are inadmissible into Canada on Security grounds, for Serious Criminality or human rights violations; or
  • Made a previous claim in Canada for Refugee protection and it was refused, abandoned or withdrawn the c or they were found ineligible; or
  • Made a refugee claim in a country with which Canada has an information-sharing agreement

What is the Safe Third Country Agreement and how does it impact a Refugee Claim?


NOTE: The Federal Court of Canada determined on July 22, 2020, that the provisions enacting the Safe Third Country Agreement infringe the guarantees in section 7 of the Charter. 

See Federal Court determines that the Safe Third Country Agreement violates section 7 of the Charter

Under an agreement between the United States of America and Canada called the Safe Third Country Agreement, individuals who are seeking to claim refugee protection are required to request refugee protection in the first safe country they arrive in, unless they qualify for an exception that is in the Agreement.

This means that a foreign national who arrived in the United States of America first must claim protection in the United States of America, unless one of the exceptions under the agreement applies to them only then would they be able to claim protection in Canada.

The Safe Third Country Agreement applies only to refugee claimants who are seeking entry into Canada from the United States of America from one of these entry points:

  • at Canada-U.S. land border crossings
  • by train or
  • at airports, only if the person seeking refugee protection in Canada has been refused refugee status in the U.S. and is in transit through Canada after being deported from the U.S.

There are four exceptions to the Agreement:

  • Family member exceptions such as if you have a family member in Canada
  • Unaccompanied minors exception
  • Document holder exceptions
  • Public interest exceptions
If you are in Canada and are seeking to claim asylum you may want to contact us to discuss your case.
We accept Legal Aid Certificates if you do not have the financial means to retain a lawyer. For more information about eligibility and the requirements for Legal Aid Ontario click here.
Please note that this is general Information and should not be construed as legal advice.

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