If you are entering Canada with a temporary resident visa and you fear returning to your country of nationality, you can make a claim for refugee protection at the port of entry.
If one claims at a Canadian airport, one is screened by by CBSA officers to determine whether he/she is eligible to make a claim. If eligible, an asylum claimant is given certain forms and information to progress the claim for refugee protection.
It is generally prohibited to make a refugee in Canada when arriving through a US land border pursuant to the Canada – US Safe Third Country Agreement. This is because refugee claimants are required to request protection in the ‘first safe country’ they arrive in. There are few exceptions to this prohibition, including if one has an eligible relative in Canada that is a permanent resident or Canadian citizen. Eligible ‘anchor relatives’ include one’s spouse, parents, grandparents, children, siblings, aunts and uncles.
Typically, claimants will be given a hearing to assess the merits of their claim within 30-60 days after making the claim, depending on the country of origin. If approved, the permanent residence processing can take several months. If the claim is refused, one may have other options to stay in Canada.
For many, those options could include appealing to the Refugee Appeal Division, making an application for judicial review to the Federal Court, submitting an application for permanent residence on humanitarian & compassionate grounds, or applying for a pre-removal risk assessment.