Preparing to Make Your Claim

Preparing to make your claim can mean the difference between a successful refugee claim and being sent home. It is important to prepare and prepare well before your departure.

Do you need to flee the United States?

Human rights for transgender people are constantly under attack in the United States. The work of the Trump administration in recent years has shown the need for transgender people in the United States to be able to prepare to make refugee claims either now or when things become unbearable enough for them to live in the United States.

The purpose of this site is to help you determine if you might be better off filing a refugee claim in Canada as opposed to waiting for conditions to get better in the United States. The most important part of a successful refugee claim in Canada is proper preparation. It is easier to get documents and original materials while in the United States, and to develop a case that will help you remain safe in Canada.

things you should know.


You will need to remain in Canada while you await a decision

While your claim is being heard, you cannot leave Canada. If you do leave Canada before a decision is made, your claim will be considered "abandoned", which has serious consequences. So, if you have any business that needs to be done that cannot be done in Canada, my suggestion is to get it done before you leave for Canada.


Your U.S. passport and all ID will be seized

The CBSA will seize any U.S. passports in your possession, along with any state-issued ID. The rationale is that if your claim is successful, you will not be able to use these as doing so will be considered "availing yourself of the protection of the country you're requesting protection from", which is not permitted. If your claim is not successful, they'll also use these documents to remove you from Canada.


Choose your port of entry well

When you arrive in Canada, you'll most likely wish to make your claim immediately at a port of entry. It makes sense to choose one that will make it easier for you to live and for you to attend your hearing date. Cities with offices of the IRB include Vancouver, Montréal, Toronto, Ottawa, and Calgary. Choosing any of these cities means you'll be living close to the office where your claim will be heard.


Plan to be in the airport overnight

When I had my hearing, I arrived in Calgary at around noon and was released into Canada at around 11pm with an order to return to the CBSA office at the airport the next day. I would highly recommend that you plan to stay the night at a hotel near the airport so that you can be ready for this eventuality. Alternatively, you can plan to arrive in Canada early in the morning. Though, prepare to be in the airport for a long time.