Canadian Visa Refusal: Reasons and Appeal
After weeks of waiting for your visa application results, getting a correspondence letter that states your visa application has been refused can be quite frustrating. What makes the situation unbearable though, is not knowing the reasons for your refusal. Even though you can find a couple of bullet points in your correspondence letter containing the officer’s explanation, they are almost always rather vague and generic and never in detail. A refusal letter can surely ruin someone’s mood as well as future plans. While this can be a setback for your summer vacation or education, there are a few steps you can take in order to reverse the outcome and get your visa. Knowing the difference between rejection of a visa and refusal of a visa is crucial for fixing the results. A refusal is issued when the applicant fails to prove eligibility for entering Canada. Inability to prove a suitable financial status, the purpose of visit, present supporting documents, or meet criminal inadmissibility standards will result in a refusal. Rejection of a visa, however, is a result of missing documents or forms. Providing incorrect or invalid forms or not signing the required forms are two examples that will bring about the rejection of your visa application. The good news is that, in this situation, you can reapply after simply fixing your application.
Why are some applications refused?
If your Canadian visa application has been refused by IRCC, understandably you have many unanswered questions. You probably have already started investigating the reasons and mistakes you’ve made. You can find everything you need to know in this article.
Generally speaking, there are two main reasons that not all of the applications get accepted:
The fact is Canada is a dream country for many people. Many students, skilled workers, and tourists worldwide submit an application to enter Canada on a temporary visa every year. In 2019 more than a million study permit applications were submitted from India alone. Therefore, due to high demand and limited supply, some applications are unfortunate enough to be refused.
Short processing time for each application
As mentioned, Indian students submitted more than a million study permit applications in 2019. Also, a total of nearly half a million study permits were issued for the three countries of India, China, and France in 2021. As you can see, the number of submitted applications is through the roof and Canada’s human resources are limited. Therefore, IRCC officers have no choice but to be fast and precise. But precise and fast do not usually go with each other very well. Informed sources have told our consultants that an IRCC officer spends around 6 minutes assessing each application. Are 6 minutes really enough?
Well, IRCC officers are humans, and as we all know humans are prone to mistakes. Although this is rare, therefore we encourage you to neither hope that this will help your application nor worry that this might result in the refusal of your visa application. You should always aim to submit a flawless application that perfectly describes your intent and eligibility.
In most cases, the application itself is the reason that one receives a refusal letter. If an application fails to convince the officer that the applicant intends to stay in Canada temporarily, the officer refuses the visa application. Therefore, a good and convincing application is the key to receiving approval on your Canadian visa application. Various factors in an application can affect the officer’s judgment. Stay with us as we discuss each factor in this article.
An example of a refused application
A 40-year-old applicant has applied for a study permit. He has included his high school diploma as his highest level of education in his application and he does not have a language proficiency certificate. He has also filed for a visa for his wife and son as accompanying family members. This application has been refused due to the fact that the applicant has failed to present a promising study plan and convince the officer that his intent to enter Canada is to remain temporarily and will return to his home country after the completion of his studies.
Guilty until proven innocent!
According to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR), all applications must go through a screening process in order to be deemed eligible. This mentality means that the default decision for all applications is refusal unless an application is deemed “Bona fide”. Therefore, your overall main task is to present your application in a way that proves your eligibility to enter Canada based on IRPA and IRPR rules. Almost all of the refusals are based on subsection 216 or IRPR, so it is important to be familiar with this subsection and related rules.
Refusal correspondence letter
Here is a sample correspondence letter in which the applicant has been refused a visa.
Each application will receive a correspondence letter after processing. Approved applications receive a correspondence letter with instructions regarding the issuance of the visa. Applications that are refused, on the other hand, will receive a correspondence letter in which the officer’s refusal reasons are stated. These reasons are the main subjects about which the application has failed to convince the officer. Whether your application has been refused or accepted, your correspondence letter will be available on your IRCC profile to download.
As you can see in the sample correspondence letter above, the reasons stated in the letter are vague and general. These reasons let you know the subject in which you have failed to prove eligibility and that’s it! No further explanations as to why you have failed in those subjects will be presented in a correspondence letter.
But is there really no way to know the officer’s reasoning behind a refusal?
CAIPS/FOSS/GCMS note request
There is a way you can know about the details of your refusal. Canada has committed to opening its government. The goal is to drive innovation and create economic opportunities for all Canadians. This is achieved in three sections: Open Data, Open Information, and Open Dialogue. Due to The Access to Information Act in Canada, access to public information is provided by more than 270 public authorities, and one of these organizations is IRCC.
You can benefit from this act and request one of the three CAIPS, FOSS, and GCMS notes. In these notes, you can receive an in-detail explanation as to why your application has been refused and what was the reasoning behind the officer’s decision.
CAIPS stands for Computer Assisted Immigration Processing System. Citizenship & Immigration Canada has historically used this computer system to process visa applications outside of Canada. Although, it is being replaced by GCMS.
Field Operations Support System (FOSS) notes typically represent a complete record of all actions taken in a particular case. Therefore, officers should ensure that no information appears only in the paper file.
IRCC uses the Global Case Management System (GCMS) to process immigration and citizenship applications. GCMS is the safest and easiest way to track your immigration or visa application status, as well as to prepare for an interview or to have necessary documents ready for the next stage of processing.
Visa refusal Reasons
Visitor visa refusal reasons
If your visitor visa application fails to convince the officer that the purpose of your visit is solely to visit Canada as a tourist and return to your home country after the duration of your visa, your visitor visa application will be refused. A few reasons your application might fail to prove your eligibility are as follows:
- Not having enough funds for the duration of your travel
- Poor financial status in your home country
- Officer suspecting that you might seek refuge after entering Canada
- Poor travel history
- Not having a proper travel plan
- Missing documents
- Poor ties to your home country
Study permit refusal reasons
In case of a refused study permit, the applicant usually receives a correspondence letter with the following statement:
Followed by one or more bullet points that state the grounds to which your application has failed to comply. Some of these grounds are:
- Your family ties in your home country and Canada
- Purpose of your visit
- Your assets and financial status
- Your ravel history
- Poor study plan
Most common visa refusal reasons
After evaluating countless cases and applications of our clients, our consultants have determined that the most common reasons for a refusal are one of the following:
Poor family ties in the country of residence
Lack of emotional ties to your family and home country can hurt your visa application as it may bring doubt to the officer’s decision. For example, if you have a sibling in Montreal while applying for the Concordia University, this may affect the officer’s judgment.
The solution is to explain you have a strong emotional dependency on your family (mother or father) to the point that you cannot live without them. You can provide this explanation in your study plan. You should make sure that your explanation is logical and not too extreme. You don’t want the officer to think you won’t be able to live on your own in Canada.
Lack of a future employment plan in your home country
Not having a future employment plan in your home country for when you return to your home country after graduation is another reason an officer might think you are not a bona fide student. Continuing your education in the program in which you have been accepted should enhance your employment opportunities when you return home.
To achieve this, you can:
- Include a letter from your current employer that states you will have a job offer for when you return to your home country after graduating from your program in Canada. This can prove you have a future employment plan.
- If you are unemployed or an entrepreneur, you must explain in your study plan how your education in Canada can help you improve your employment chances or help develop your business.
Poor travel history
Even though your travel history is not a deciding factor according to IRPA and IRPR, it should not impose a negative effect on your application. Your travel history must be reasonable and consistent with your study plan, CV, and overall life. If you have been in school all your life and now applying for a study permit, this can easily be explained. However, if you have not been to any foreign countries before and suddenly decided to visit Canada as a tourist, this can be alarming to the officer. Overall, your travel history should only be a neutral aspect of your application, not a negative one.
The solution is simple though. You need to visit a few countries before submitting your visa application to IRCC.
Unsuitable financial status
Canadian visa applicants must provide adequate financial documents to demonstrate that they are prepared to take care of their expenses while in Canada. Study permit applicants need to show their ability to pay for their first year of expenses. Also, visitor visa applicants must provide credible financial documents to prove they can cover the costs of their travel to Canada. Keep in mind that the source of your fund must be clear regardless of your application.
The solution is to present a proper bank statement showing a sufficient amount of funds and demonstrate a suitable financial status. It is encouraged to provide more than enough funds for the duration of your stay in Canada. For more information, refer to the financial status for the “study permit application” article.
Having multiple intents can be confusing for the officer. Your intention for entering Canada must be clear and logical. You are required to leave Canada after the expiration of your visa and you need to have a similar intention. Having an Express Entry profile while applying for a temporary visa is a perfect example of dual intention.
The solution is to clearly explain your purpose of travel and express your intention for leaving Canada after your graduation/travel. If you cannot achieve this for whatever reasons, we recommend contacting our visa consultants as the subject of dual intent is rather complicated and requires a professional touch.
Actions after refusal
Everyone asks what can be done after a visa refusal. Many cases successfully received their visa after being refused for the first time. In fact, we have witnessed this firsthand in many of our client’s applications. Knowing why your application has been refused is the first step after being refused entry to Canada. After knowing the reason behind your refusal, there are several paths you can take:
Resubmit the application
This is the easiest path. After careful examination of your application and fixing its flaws, you can resubmit. In this path, you have the opportunity to add additional documents to your application and improve its eligibility. Keep in mind that you need to pay another application fee.
Submit a reconsideration request
In this path, you will submit a reconsideration request. Upon submitting a reconsideration request, a supervisor will be assigned to your application and assess it.
Appeal to the federal court of Canada
If you decide to take this path, you can apply to the Federal Court of Canada for a judicial review. By doing so, a federal judge will review your application for unfair judgment. This is the last resort for reversing the result of a visa application. Learn more information in the “Canadian visa court appeal” article.
The best course of action after visa refusal
The best way to appeal a visa application varies from one application to another. Each application needs a thorough evaluation and assessment of refusal reasons before deciding on the best way to appeal its result.
When to re-apply for a visa
There are no rules on when you can reapply for a visa or how long it needs to pass from your first application. Although, if you wish to reapply, you should only do so if your situation has changed significantly or if you have new information to submit. If you ask us, it is only viable to re-apply for a visa when you know the main reason(s) behind your initial refusal.
You technically can resubmit an application immediately after receiving your correspondence letter for the previous submission and your biometric information is valid for 10 years.
The federal court of Canada
The highest path to appeal a Canadian visa refusal is to apply for a judicial review in the federal court of Canada. This should only be done if you think your application has been processed unfairly. The federal court of Canada cannot accept or refuse your visa application and the verdicts are only about the fairness of its process.
Applying to the Federal Court of Canada for a judicial review
The process of applying to the Federal Court of Canada for a judicial review has 3 stages:
In this stage, a short and brief review of your application takes place and if the federal court decides that your application is worth reviewing, they will request additional documents. If they decide that the officer has judged your application fairly, your case will be closed and you cannot appeal any further. If they decide your application was not fairly processed, your leave will be granted and you will be given a chance to defend your case.
If you’ve been allowed to defend your case, your lawyer needs to present the court with pleadings. Keep in mind that you cannot add any documents to your application yet. In the pleadings, your lawyer needs to make a strong argument and prove that your visa application process was conducted unfairly or mistakes have been made. If your lawyer’s pleadings manage to convince the court, you will be offered to settle your case. Here you will have two options:
- Accept to settle
If you accept to settle your case, your application’s status will be turned to “submitted” and a new officer will review your application and the process starts all over again. You will be asked to update your documents. You must provide the requested documents within the given time frame. One of the requested documents is usually a new bank statement for the past 6 months.
- Refuse to settle
If you choose to refuse the settlement proposal, you can take your case to a hearing
In this stage, you need to participate in a hearing where your lawyer will defend your case with pieces of evidence and documents. If the decision made in the hearing is in favor of you, your application will be sent to IRCC for a reevaluation. Applications that win the hearing, are almost always granted entry to Canada and issued a visa.
How long do you have to appeal the results?
If you are outside of Canada, you have 60 days from the day you receive your correspondence letter to apply for a judicial review. If you are inside Canada, however, you have 15 days.
How much does a judicial review of your application costs?
The fee for filing an application for leave and judicial review is $50 and you need to take the lawyer’s wage into account as well.
How can Visa Mondial help your court appeal?
After years of experience, our consultants are fully familiar with the federal court of Canada and its bureaucracy. Additionally, our wages are fair and reasonable and you can benefit from our expertise without spending much of your savings.
Outtake and Visa Mondial recommendation
If you want to apply for a study permit or a visitor visa, it is highly recommended to consult with lawyers and visa experts. Many applicants with promising applications decide to apply on their own in order to save money and give up when their application gets refused due to a lack of experience. Inexperienced consultants and illegal lawyers are somewhat responsible for many refused applications.
Visa Mondial organization has achieved a success rate of 90% in recent years, meaning 9 out of 10 applicants, who have signed a contract with Visa Mondial, have been granted entry to Canada.