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How do I repay my travel loan if I am a refugee or protected person?
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) organizes pre-arrival services and travel to Canada. Travel costs are covered by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) under the Immigration Loans Program (ILP); through the Transportation Loan.
This means IRCC will pay the costs directly to the IOM, but the money is considered a loan that you need to repay after you arrive in Canada. This type of loan can help you cover the costs of not just transportation. It may also help cover the cost of medical exams, travel documents, services fees, some accommodations and meals while you are on your way to Canada.
You must begin repayment of your loan after the 12th month from when the loan was issued.
You are entitled to make loan payments using any of the following methods of payment:
- personal cheque
- certified cheque
- postal or money order
- credit card
- directly at participating financial institutions
- internet banking through participating financial institutions
Payments must be made in Canadian funds. Cheques must be made payable to the “Receiver General for Canada”.
You will receive a letter outlining the minimum amount you need to pay back each month. You do not have to pay interest on these types of loans. In exceptional circumstances, part of your loan may be forgiven.
Generally, loans will need to be paid back according to their amount:
- loans up to but not exceeding $1,200 within 36 months
- loans over $1,200 but not exceeding $2,400 within 48 months
- loans over $2,400 but not exceeding $3,600 within 60 months
- loans over $3,600 but not exceeding $4,800 within 72 months
- loans over $4,800 within 96 months
It is important to make regular loan payments. If you cannot make a payment, you should contact IRCC as soon as possible to ask if you can defer, or pause, a payment. If you make this request, you may be asked to explain your personal finances and why it is difficult for you to make the payments. It may be a good idea to make a list of your income and expenses in order to demonstrate your financial situation.
It is also very important to tell IRCC your new address every time you move and if you are having a hard time making payments.
You will not be removed from Canada if you miss loan payments. However, if you do not make your payments, IRCC can direct your case to a collections agency, keep your income tax refunds or take you to court. It is especially important to make your payments if you are planning on sponsoring a family member. If you default on loan payments, it may be more difficult to show that you can support a sponsored family member.
If you have financial problems in addition to your loan, you may want to consider speaking to a credit counsellor.
Important Note: Some refugees do not have to pay transportation loans. If you’re not sure if you have loans, call the IRCC help center.
For More Information
- IRCC Help Centre - A tool that helps answer frequently asked questions on immigration matters. It offers several ways of searching through the information available, including search by keyword. From Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
- Transportation Loans Fact Sheet – This document includes the basic information on transportation loans. From the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program (RSTP).
- Immigrant Loans Program – This website includes a summary of the Immigration Loans Program. From Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
March 16, 2021