**As of December 15, 2012, the Personal Information Form has been replaced by the Basis of Claim Form.
One of the most important issues that arise in a refugee claim is establishing that a refugee claimant is credible. The process of establishing credibility begins when the claimant completes and submits the Personal Information Form (PIF). This document forms the basis of the entire refugee process. It is therefore important that the information and details of fear of persecution is properly outlined in an honest, credible and thorough manner.
Although the PIF can be completed by the claimant at the port-of-entry upon entry to Canada, this is not a recommended practice. It is recommended that the refugee claimant consider two options:
- Upon entry the claimant simply confirms an intention to make a refugee claim while providing the basis of such claim, without completing the actual PIF form. The claimant will be given the PIF to submit at a later date which can be carried out with the assistance of the immigration lawyer.
- Upon entry the claimant does not confirm an intention to pursue a refugee claim and does so only after being admitted into Canada.
The PIF contains 44 questions many of which must be completed in detail. With the help of the translator the claimant should be encouraged to provide such detail in a chronological order with dates, places and persons who form part of the narrative of the events supporting the claim. During the hearing the claimant will be giving oral testimony which should be complemented by the PIF. Credibility is gained or lost on the basis of how oral testimony or subsequent questioning by the Board members is consistent with the information contained in the PIF.
There are a number of related issues that can impact on the success or failure of a refugee claim. Further information may be obtained by contacting Colin R. Singer, Attorney –[email protected].