What happens in a hearing?

Different countries would have different hearing processes. In general, a government officer will look at the documents you submitted and ask questions, to make sure what you said in your claim is true, and to decide whether you qualify as a religious refugee.

As an example, the following is what will happen in Canada’s refugee claim the hearing process.


Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) has prepared a Claimant’s Guide to help refugee claimants in Canada. The Guide gives a basic introduction about the refugee claim process in Canada and what the claimants should do.

The following section is what will happen during a hearing process.


  1. You will take a solemn affirmation
    Before you testify, you must make a solemn affirmation, which is a promise to tell the truth.
  2. You will testify
    You will then be asked questions first by the member, and then by your counsel. If the IRCC or the CBSA is participating in your hearing, the Minister’s counsel will ask you questions before your own counsel does. If you do not have counsel, the member may ask you more questions and give you an opportunity to tell the member what you think is important.
    If the CBSA is participating in your hearing because the Minister is claiming that you should be excluded from refugee protection, the Minister’s counsel will ask you questions, followed by the member and then your counsel, if you have one.
  3. Witnesses will testify
    If you bring any witnesses, they will testify after you have testified. Any witnesses you bring to your hearing will be asked to stay in the waiting room and will not join the hearing until after you have testified. The witnesses will then be asked to come in to answer questions one by one.
  4. Comments (representations) will be made about your case
    After you and any witnesses have testified, the member will ask you or your counsel to explain why you think the evidence shows that you are a Convention refugee or a person in need of protection. If the IRCC or the CBSA is participating, the member will give the Minister’s counsel an opportunity to comment on your case as well.

A decision will be made
The Refugee Protection Division (RPD) member will decide whether you are a Convention refugee or a person in need of protection. The member will tell you the decision and the reasons for the decision orally at the end of the hearing, unless it is not possible to do so. In that case, you will receive the decision later by mail.