Can I travel outside Canada as a refugee?
Yes. If you're in Canada as a refugee, you can travel outside the country, but until you become a Canadian citizen, there are a few things to consider. This applies if you are a resettled refugee, whether privately sponsored or Government-Assisted, or you have been recognized as a protected person in Canada, either by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) or through the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) process.
You must apply through Passport Canada for a Refugee Travel Document in order to travel outside Canada.
Refugee travel document
A Refugee Travel Document can be used like a passport to travel to other countries, but will not allow you to return to your country of citizenship or to the country where you were persecuted.
This is not the same as having a Canadian passport. Countries that allow Canadians to enter without a visa may require a visa from a person travelling on a refugee travel document. You should always check the requirements for entry with the consulate or embassy of the country you'd like to visit when planning your trip.
The processing time for the travel document may vary. So, it is recommended that you wait until you have received your travel document and the necessary visas before making any specific travel plans.
To apply for a Refugee Travel Document, you must:
- Complete the application form under "Apply for a travel document for non-Canadians"
- Gather all necessary documents
- Obtain two identical passport photos
- Find a guarantor and two references
- Pay the fees
Important: If you came to Canada through a refugee resettlement program, or if you have been recognized as a refugee in Canada, you must not use a passport from your country of origin, as this could result in your status in Canada being revoked by cessation.
Re-entering Canada with a permanent resident card
If you are a permanent resident of Canada, a permanent resident card is required to re-enter the country. Make sure that your permanent resident card does not expire during your trip. If it does, you can obtain a Permanent Resident Travel Document (PRTD) while you're abroad.
For more information
- What does the word “refugee” mean? - An article from WelcomeOntario.
- Losing your right to remain in Canada: Cessation - You may consult the Canadian Council for Refugees summary.
- How can I get travel documents if I am a protected person in Canada? - An article from Settlement.Org.
- Can I lose my refugee status? - You will find information on the circumstances that can lead to the loss of refugee status on the website of Steps to Justice.