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What happens when someone makes a claim at a Canada‑United States border crossing?

The Canada Border Services Agency officer should ask questions to find out if one of the exceptions to the ‘safe third country’ rule might apply.

If the claimant has a family member in Canada, the officer might try to contact Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) (formerly Citizenship and Immigration Canada or CIC) or the family member to find out more about their status here. The claimant should give the officer the family member's contact information.

The claimant should also provide any documents they have that show their relationship to the family member and the family member's immigration status in Canada. If these documents are not in English or French, the claimant must have them translated before coming to the border.

If no exception applies, the claimant will not be allowed to make a refugee claim in Canada. They will be returned to the United States, where they will likely be detained and deported.

Last updated: Mar 1, 2016


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