For more legal information, visit the CLEO website and Your Legal Rights

Gathering evidence to support your claim

How to begin

Try to get documents that can help prove your case. Talk to your lawyer about what kind of documents you can get and make every effort to get those documents right away.

Make a note of every phone call, email, fax, letter, or any attempt you make to get documents. Also keep track of all responses you receive. Evidence of your efforts to get documents can help you at your hearing. If you are unable to get documents to help prove your identity and your claim, you will have to explain at the hearing why you could not do so and what efforts you made.

When you get documents, give them to your lawyer immediately. The sooner you give the documents to your lawyer, the more time they will have to get them translated and filed in time to meet the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) deadlines.

Keep the originals of all your documents. Also keep any envelopes in which documents were sent to you, as you may need to show them during your hearing.

Identity documents

It is important to try to get documents that prove who you are. If Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) or Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) have identity documents of yours—for example, your passport—they will send copies to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).

The best proof of your identity is usually a document issued by a government. For example, a passport, a birth certificate, a national identity card or residence card, or a driver’s licence. Other types of identity documents include school records and a baptismal certificate.

If you cannot get any identity documents, talk to your lawyer about other options. You might need to try and get a statement from someone who knows you or has another way to confirm facts about you.

For example, someone who knew you before you came to Canada may be able to testify that you are who you say you are. Or someone from a community organization might be able to interview you and say that you speak a dialect that is specific to a region.

Other documents

Other types of documents that might help support your claim could include:

Category: Before your hearing

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