Completing your Basis of Claim form when you arrive in Canada

The Basis of Claim (BOC) form is an important part of your refugee claim. It explains who you are, what you are afraid of in your country and why you need refugee protection in Canada.

Get legal help as soon as possible. If you are making a claim when you arrive in Canada, it is due very soon after you begin your refugee claim.

Why should I get help with the BOC form?

Get help with your Basis of Claim (BOC) form right away. It is an important part of your claim.

The BOC form asks detailed questions based on the law. Knowing what information to include in your answers to prove your claim can be difficult.

Your answers should perfectly match any documents that you submit. Even the smallest difference in names, dates or facts can be a big problem. The information in your BOC form should also match your immigration forms. Your lawyer or representative should review your documents to make sure they match your BOC form and support your claim. If your documents have errors, you can explain these errors in your BOC form.

If you start a claim when you arrive in Canada, you will not have much time. If you miss the deadline, there could be serious consequences, including losing the chance to continue your refugee claim. Find help quickly to prepare your BOC form on time.

The Basis of Claim (BOC) form

When is my Basis of Claim (BOC) form due?

If you make a claim when you arrive in Canada, your Basis of Claim form will be due 15 days after you receive your forms. You are usually, but not always, given your Basis of Claim form on the same day that you arrive in Canada.

The 15 days starts on the day after you received the forms. If this date is a weekend or holiday, your BOC Form will be due the next working day. For example, if the 15th day is Sunday, your BOC form will be due on Monday.

What should I do if I have any problems?

It is important to write down any problems or difficulties you have with the process in your BOC form. You should also tell the person making a decision on your claim about these problems during your hearing. This will put your problems “on the record” and help explain any information that you left out or mixed up.

Where can I get a Basis of Claim (BOC) form?

If you make a claim when you arrive in Canada, you will be given a blank copy of the BOC form after your eligibility interview. You can fill in your copy by hand or download a copy from the IRB website.

Filling out the Basis of Claim form

How should I fill out my form?

You can fill out your BOC form by hand or on a computer. If your answers do not fit in the spaces provided, you can attach extra pages. Make sure that you write your name and client number and the question you are answering on any pages that you attach.

Is my BOC form the only form I must fill in?

If you made a claim when you arrived in Canada, you only need to prepare the BOC form. You already filled out the required immigration forms, usually with an officer, when you made your claim.

Should each family member have their own BOC form?

Yes, everyone in your family should fill out their own BOC form. For example, if you are arriving with a spouse or common‑law partner, you will each need your own form. Children under 18 years need their own form as well, but their parent or guardian will sign the form for them. Children six years or under only need to complete Part 1, “Who you are.”

You only need to answer some questions once for your whole family, if you all are afraid of returning to your country for the same reasons. If this is the case, in the “Details about your claim” section of your BOC form, you can give the same answers for everyone in your family. If you are the main person making a claim, provide the answer in your form, and then write “See [your name]’s Basis of Claim (BOC) form, Claim No. [your claim number]” in your family’s other BOC forms. If anyone has different answers or reasons to be afraid, they would need to answer separately.

What if a child makes a claim alone?

If children under 18 make a refugee claim without any family members, a “designated representative” will be appointed for them. This person ensures the BOC form is completed and signs it for them, though the minor may need to provide information to the representative to assist him/her in completing the form.

What should I do before I sign my BOC form?

Make sure that you know exactly what is written in your answers before you sign. If you do not understand English or French, make sure that someone interprets the entire form to you. Correct any incorrect information before you sign.

Submitting the Basis of Claim form

How do I submit my BOC form?

You must give your BOC form to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) within 15 days of receiving it.

You can submit your form:

  • in person at an IRB office
  • by courier
  • by fax, if you are sending fewer than 20 pages

You cannot send your form by regular mail. The Claimant’s Guide has more instructions.

If you have a lawyer or representative, make sure they submit your forms on time.

Keep a copy of all the forms and documents you submit. Keep proof that you submitted them on time, such as a copy stamped by the IRB, a courier slip or a fax confirmation.

What happens if I do not submit my BOC form on time?

If you do not submit your BOC form on time, you will have to go to a special abandonment hearing. This hearing is usually held one week after your BOC deadline. The date is on your Notice to Appear for a hearing in the section called Special hearing date if the Basis of Claim form is not received on time.

It is very important to get a lawyer or legal representative for this hearing. They will explain why your claim should be allowed to continue and explain why you missed your deadline.

If you do not go to your abandonment hearing, your claim will automatically be declared abandoned.

If your claim is found to be abandoned, you will not have a refugee hearing and will not be allowed to start another claim. You will be ordered to leave the country.

Can I change my answers after I submit my BOC form?

Yes. You can make changes to your answers until 10 days before your hearing.

To make changes to your BOC form, you need to underline any information that you want to add, and cross out any information that you want to remove.

You also have to explain why you are changing your answers. This might be complicated, so ask a lawyer or representative for advice.

Sign and date any pages that you have changed. Send two copies of the changes to the IRB.

Getting help with the Basis of Claim form

What other resources are out there to help?

Read the instructions in the Claimant’s Guide, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s Guide: Applying for Refugee Protection from within Canada, and the Appendix attached to your BOC Form.