Canada is committed to a principle whereby persons facing removal from the country are not returned to a country or region where they would be in danger of being persecuted.

Persons facing removal Canada, such as failed asylum seekers, may be eligible for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA).

In reviewing a case, a Canadian immigration officer will consider:

  • risk of persecution as defined in the Geneva Convention,
  • danger of torture, and
  • risk to life or the risk that the applicant may be subjected to cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
An airplane takes off in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

What is a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment?

An opportunity for people who are facing removal from Canada to seek protection by describing, in writing, the risks they believe they would face if removed.

What happens if an applicant is successful?

Approved applicants may remain in Canada. Most accepted persons become ‘protected persons’ who may apply for Canadian permanent residence.

Who decides on a PRRA application?

Application forms and written submissions (if any) must be sent to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) PRRA Unit.

Individuals who made a refugee claim or who previously applied for a PRRA and their application was rejected, abandoned or withdrawn may not apply for a PRRA unless at least 12 months have passed.

However, there are certain instances in which the government of Canada will waive this requirement in the event of sudden changes in a country's domestic circumstances relating to security and safety. Over recent years, this measure has been applied to nationals of Haiti, Zimbabwe, and Russia, respectively.

On the other hand, individuals who come from a designated country cannot apply for a PRRA until at least 36 months have passed since their refugee claim or previous PRRA application was rejected, abandoned or withdrawn. Designated countries are those that do not normally produce refugees and respect human rights and offer state protection.

In effect, this creates three lists of countries and three corresponding wait times until an individual may apply for a PRRA: 12 months (which may be considered the default), immediate (for those countries and individuals whose circumstances have changed quickly), and 36 months (for designated countries).

PRRA: Exemptions to the bar

Country Exemption applies to persons who received a final decision on their case on or between these dates
Burundi August 13, 2014 and August 12, 2015
Central African Republic August 15, 2011, and August 14, 2012 OR May 12, 2013, and May 11, 2014
Egypt August 15, 2011, and August 14, 2012 OR May 12, 2013, and May 11, 2014
Ethiopia July 28, 2015, and July 27, 2016
Guinea-Bissau August 15, 2011, and August 14, 2012
Libya August 15, 2011, and August 14, 2012 OR February 20, 2014 and February 19, 2015
Mali August 15, 2011, and August 14, 2012 OR February 21, 2012, and February 20, 2013
Russia July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017
Somalia August 15, 2011, and August 14, 2012
South Sudan August 27, 2013, and August 26, 2014
Sudan August 15, 2011, and August 14, 2012
Syria August 15, 2011, and August 14, 2012
Turkey February 16, 2016, and February 15, 2017
Venezuela July 8, 2016 and July 7, 2017
Yemen June 18, 2014, and June 17, 2015

Designated countries

Country Effective date
Andorra October 10, 2014
Australia February 15, 2013
Austria December 15, 2012
Belgium December 15, 2012
Chile May 31, 2013
Croatia December 15, 2012
Cyprus December 15, 2012
Czech Republic December 15, 2012
Denmark December 15, 2012
Estonia December 15, 2012
Finland December 15, 2012
France December 15, 2012
Germany December 15, 2012
Greece December 15, 2012
Hungary December 15, 2012
Iceland February 15, 2013
Ireland December 15, 2012
Israel (excludes Gaza and the West Bank) February 15, 2013
Italy December 15, 2012
Japan February 15, 2013
Latvia December 15, 2012
Liechtenstein October 10, 2014
Lithuania December 15, 2012
Luxembourg December 15, 2012
Malta December 15, 2012
Mexico February 15, 2013
Monaco October 10, 2014
Netherlands December 15, 2012
New Zealand February 15, 2013
Norway February 15, 2013
Poland December 15, 2012
Portugal December 15, 2012
Romania October 10, 2014
San Marino October 10, 2014
Slovak Republic December 15, 2012
Slovenia December 15, 2012
South Korea May 31, 2013
Spain December 15, 2012
Sweden December 15, 2012
Switzerland February 15, 2013
United Kingdom December 15, 2012
United States of America December 15, 2012

Individuals from countries that do not appear on either of the above lists fall under the default (12 month) bar on applying for a PRRA.

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