Legal Aid BC now takes phone-only applications.

Refugee, immigration, and citizenship questions

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What services does LABC provide for refugees?  September 13, 2021

LABC’s immigration coverage is for refugees who have entered Canada and want to make a claim for protection under s. 96 or s. 97 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). 

Coverage is based on risk to the person if they returned to their country of origin. Afghan people in BC on permits to study, work, or visit may want to make a claim for refugee status.

We fund applications by people living in BC for the following:

  • Refugee status under s. 96 of IRPA (fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion)
  • Protection under s. 97 of IRPA (fear of torture or risk to life, or risk of cruel and unusual punishment or treatment)
  • Landing on humanitarian compassionate grounds under s. 25 of IRPA for applicants who face unusual, undeserved hardship in their country of origin

We also fund appeals and judicial reviews of Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada decisions.

I need to file a form with the IRB. What about my deadline? How do I file? May 27, 2021

Refugee Protection Division (RPD)

If a claimant made a claim for refugee protection at a port of entry and their claim was referred to the RPD on or after August 29, 2020, the RPD temporarily extends the time limit for the claimant to provide their BOC form by 30 days from the date on which the BOC form would normally be due. Accordingly, the claimant's BOC form will be due 45 days after the day on which their claim was referred to the RPD.

For inland claims, you will be directed to file your BOC form by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), after you email them to initiate your claim (see “I am inside Canada and I want to claim refugee protection. How do I make my claim? [July 8]” below).

Fax the RPD at 604-666-3043.

Email the RPD at

For more about submitting documents to the RPD, see their website.

Refugee Appeal Division

Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) notices of appeal are now due 15 days after receiving written reasons from the RPD. Appeals must be perfected within 45 days from receiving the written reasons from the RPD.

Fax the RAD at 604-666-9870.

Email the RAD at

For more about submitting documents to the RAD, see their website.

Immigration Appeal Division

All Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) deadlines have now returned to normal. The IAD is scheduling all hearings virtually unless it is not appropriate for a specific case.

Fax the IAD at 604-666-3043.

Email the IAD at:

Immigration Division

For the Immigration Division (ID), detention reviews are being conducted by telephone or video. For non-detained cases, the ID will contact you or your lawyer to schedule a hearing. If you wish to have your hearing by video, please advise the ID when they contact you.

Will my refugee claim hearing with the IRB go ahead? May 27, 2021

The Refugee Protection Division (RPD) has resumed hearings. You or your lawyer will be contacted to schedule your hearing. Currently, the RPD is asking all claimants to participate in virtual hearings, by video using MS Teams. If you agree to have your hearing by video, there are a number of technical requirements that must be met. The RPD will inform you of these requirements.

My refugee claim was denied. Can I still appeal? May 27, 2021

If you lose your refugee claim, the time to file your notice of appeal to the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD) is 15 days. The deadline to perfect your appeal has been extended from 30 to 45 days.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is administering a special program to recognize certain refugee claimants who were front-line health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you apply for permanent resident status under this public policy after your refugee claim was rejected, your appeal options and RAD deadlines may be affected. Please see the Immigration and Refugee Board website for more information.

I am inside Canada and I want to claim refugee protection. How do I make my claim? May 27, 2021

IRCC is no longer accepting in-person claims. If you'd like to make a refugee claim, please complete all forms in the application package online

Then email and let them know you want to make a claim.

Your email should contain the following information only:

  • Subject line: Request to make a Refugee Claim in Canada: [your unique client identifier (UCI) OR passport number]
  • Body of the email:
    • your name
    • the email address you want to use to communicate
    • your UCI (found on your visa or permit) OR your passport number (if you don’t have either number, explain why in your email)
    • the country you’re living in now

You'll receive an automatic reply to confirm they received your message. You'll also receive an email from Canada Post asking you to sign up for Canada Post’s epost Connect service. 

Once you've signed up, use epost Connect to send the completed forms to IRCC. If the application is complete IRCC will:

  • send you an Acknowledgment of Claim letter,
  • give you instructions to complete your immigration medical examination, and
  • schedule you for a biometrics interview, and later an eligibility interview.

More information can be found on IRCC’s website.

I’m a refugee who has stopped working because of COVID-19. Can I apply for benefits? October 29, 2020

Yes, if you live in Canada, even temporarily, you may be eligible to receive temporary income support from the federal government. To get more information in your own language about who is eligible and how to apply, see the Government of Canada website

What about proceedings at the Federal Court? June 29, 2020

Please see the Federal Court of Canada website.

Do I still have to follow my CBSA reporting conditions? April 14, 2020

You must continue following your Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) reporting conditions, if you have them.