Pre-Removal Risk Assessment

Last updated: 28 August 2020

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who made a refugee claim or who previously applied for a PRRA and their application was rejected, abandoned or withdrawn may not apply for a PRRA unless at least 12 months have passed.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until at least 36 months have passed since their refugee claim or previous PRRA application was rejected, abandoned or withdrawn.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

CountryExemption applies to persons who received a final decision on their case on or between these dates
BurundiAugust 13, 2014 and August 12, 2015
Central African RepublicAugust 15, 2011, and August 14, 2012 OR May 12, 2013, and May 11, 2014
EgyptAugust 15, 2011, and August 14, 2012 OR May 12, 2013, and May 11, 2014
EthiopiaJuly 28, 2015, and July 27, 2016
Guinea-BissauAugust 15, 2011, and August 14, 2012
LibyaAugust 15, 2011, and August 14, 2012 OR February 20, 2014 and February 19, 2015
MaliAugust 15, 2011, and August 14, 2012 OR February 21, 2012, and February 20, 2013
RussiaJuly 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017
SomaliaAugust 15, 2011, and August 14, 2012
South SudanAugust 27, 2013, and August 26, 2014
SudanAugust 15, 2011, and August 14, 2012
SyriaAugust 15, 2011, and August 14, 2012
TurkeyFebruary 16, 2016, and February 15, 2017
VenezuelaJuly 8, 2016 and July 7, 2017
YemenJune 18, 2014, and June 17, 2015

Designated countries

CountryEffective date
AndorraOctober 10, 2014
AustraliaFebruary 15, 2013
AustriaDecember 15, 2012
BelgiumDecember 15, 2012
ChileMay 31, 2013
CroatiaDecember 15, 2012
CyprusDecember 15, 2012
Czech RepublicDecember 15, 2012
DenmarkDecember 15, 2012
EstoniaDecember 15, 2012
FinlandDecember 15, 2012
FranceDecember 15, 2012
GermanyDecember 15, 2012
GreeceDecember 15, 2012
HungaryDecember 15, 2012
IcelandFebruary 15, 2013
IrelandDecember 15, 2012
Israel (excludes Gaza and the West Bank)February 15, 2013
ItalyDecember 15, 2012
JapanFebruary 15, 2013
LatviaDecember 15, 2012
LiechtensteinOctober 10, 2014
LithuaniaDecember 15, 2012
LuxembourgDecember 15, 2012
MaltaDecember 15, 2012
MexicoFebruary 15, 2013
MonacoOctober 10, 2014
NetherlandsDecember 15, 2012
New ZealandFebruary 15, 2013
NorwayFebruary 15, 2013
PolandDecember 15, 2012
PortugalDecember 15, 2012
RomaniaOctober 10, 2014
San MarinoOctober 10, 2014
Slovak RepublicDecember 15, 2012
SloveniaDecember 15, 2012
South KoreaMay 31, 2013
SpainDecember 15, 2012
SwedenDecember 15, 2012
SwitzerlandFebruary 15, 2013
United KingdomDecember 15, 2012
United States of AmericaDecember 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.