On March 24, 2023, Canada and the United States announced the expansion of the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) across the entire land border, including internal waterways.
The Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States (U.S.) is part of the U.S.–Canada Smart Border Action Plan.
Under the Agreement, refugee claimants are required to request refugee protection in the first safe country they arrive in, unless they qualify for an exception to the Agreement.
The Agreement helps both governments better manage access to the refugee system in each country for people crossing the Canada–U.S. land border. The two countries signed the Agreement on December 5, 2002, and it came into effect on December 29, 2004. The two countries signed an Additional Protocol to the STCA, which came into effect on March 25, 2023 following completion of regulatory amendments. Together the two documents represent a revised agreement.
To date, the US is the only country that is designated as a safe third country by Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
The Agreement does not apply to US citizens or habitual residents of the US who are not citizens of any country (“stateless persons”).
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