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How do I repay my travel loan if I am a refugee or protected person?
You will need to start paying back your loan in monthly installments 30 days after your arrival in Canada.
If you are a refugee or protected person you may have been offered a loan by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to help you cover costs such as transportation to Canada, medical exams, travel documents and service fees.
You can pay back your loans by cheque, postal or money order, credit card or online banking payments. Cheques and other items should be made out to “Receiver General for Canada”.
You will receive a letter outlining how much you need to pay back each month. In exceptional circumstances, your loan may be forgiven.
Generally, loans must be paid back within:
- 12 months for loans less than $1200
- 24 months for loans $1200 - $2400
- 36 months for loans $2400 - $3600
- 48 months for loans $3600 - $4800
- 72 months for loans more than 4,800
You do not have to pay interest on your loan for at least the first 1-3 years depending on how large your loan is. After that, you will need to repay your loans with interest.
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.
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 and Admissibility Loans Fact Sheet – This document includes the basic information on transportation and admissibility 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.
June 12, 2018