Appeal For Canada Immigration Refusal Cases

We all know about the number of people who successfully immigrate to Canada. Canadian immigration has boomed over the years. Each year, Canada accepts thousands of workers, students, and tourists. Also, many come to Canada with permanent resident status. This information has attracted many people to choose Canada as their destination.

Yes, Canada has a high acceptance rate. Be that as it may, the word “rate” implies an opposite end in the ratio. Though many are accepted for Canadian immigration, a person somewhere receives a visa refusal letter. Another person already in the country is given a removal order.

Generally, this does not happen often, but it does happen. It happens to many people. Here is the good news: a visa refusal can be reversed through an appeal. In other words, it is possible to appeal for your visa application’s reconsideration.

If you are still deep in the process of your visa application, this article could still guide you. If your application for a work permit, student visa, or permanent resident visa has been refused, this article is here to help.

Why A Visa Refusal Occurs

Rejected application

Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is responsible for assessing your immigration application. It is also the agency of Canada tasked with accepting or refusing your visa application.

IRCC accepts visa applications with complete and sufficient documentation. Complete and sufficient documentation proves that you are admissible to Canada. However, there are times when an applicant would be deemed inadmissible. In this case, the decision of IRCC is the refusal of the application.

To inform the applicant, IRCC sends a refusal letter of its decision.

There are reasons for why visa refusal occurs

Incomplete Documentation

If your documents are incomplete, your immigration application would not be considered. Documents are written records that show IRCC your identity and background. They use this to assess you, and they base their decision to refuse or accept you from this.

Hence, documents that prove your identity, health, finances, work history, and criminal record are all critical.

Incomplete documentation is not just a case of missing or lost documents. In some cases, some information may either be missing, incomplete, or misrepresented. This negatively affects IRCC’s decision to admit or refuse you.

Criminal Inadmissibility

A criminal background on a Canadian immigration application is a red flag for immigration officers and the IRCC. For this reason, all applicants must sort out their criminal cases or charges with their local courts or police agencies.

This also true for a visitor visa application.

Medical Inadmissibility

As a country that takes public health seriously, Canada could also refuse visa applications on medical grounds. IRCC does this for two reasons:

  • To prevent the entry of infectious diseases
  • To establish a newcomer’s reliance on public health care

At the time of writing, visitor visa, permanent resident, and work permit applications are either refused or put on hold. This is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. IRCC is suspending or temporarily refusing applications to prevent entry into Canada’s borders.

Insufficient Financial Resources

One of the requirements for Canadian immigration is proof of funds. This is a requirement because IRCC must be sure that you can support yourself during your transition period in Canada. Of course, this may not be an absolute necessity in certain cases. One is when you have a job offer or a provincial nomination.

Sometimes, visa rejection or refusal happens due to a lack of sufficient funds. IRCC determines this through documents like bank statements or certificates. If the amount of money on a bank document does not meet the required amount, IRCC is going to assume that you will not be able to support yourself financially.

Doubts About Intent

It is also possible for a visa officer to be suspicious of an applicant’s visa application. This happens when there is inconsistency in the information of the documents.

For example, a visa officer may find it unusual for a person to apply for a work permit but not present any police certificate. Also, there may be some doubt about an international student’s purpose if he or she only has enough funds for a month.

Ultimately, you could think of the documents in your application as a picture of your intent. Any inconsistent information could cause IRCC to doubt your true purpose for immigrating.

How To Appeal A Visa Refusal

If your application has been refused by IRCC, you will receive a refusal letter from them. This letter will notify you of the refusal of your immigration. This letter will also tell you the reasons behind the refusal.

Every visa is different, so there may also be some differences in how to appeal. To appeal for your Canadian visa, you will need help.

Here are the steps you could follow to appeal for your Canadian immigration:

Step 1: See Where You Went Wrong

Reason for rejection

It starts with the refusal letter.

As mentioned earlier, it will contain information about IRCC’s refusal. You can use this information to determine certain things.

First, you will be able to see where you made a mistake. This can already give you a clue of what to correct.

Second, you will also be able to see if pursuing the application is still worth it. Sometimes, the problem in your application for Canada involves making big changes. Also, to address some inadequacies, you may need to do something that might take a long time.

Here is an example:

Imagine that your visa for permanent resident status was refused by IRCC. In your refusal letter, one of the reasons was your ineligibility for the Federal Skilled Worker Program. One of the problems involved getting a positive LMIA. This can take a long time. Hence, with the help of this information, you now know that you ought to postpone your application.

Step 2: Submit An Access To Information Request

Sometimes, the reasons stated in your refusal letter are unclear. They may also sound “vague” or something that looks like an automated response. In fact, for most people, the information is mostly unhelpful. This makes the immigration process more intimidating. Also, this makes filing an immigration appeal seem pointless.

If this is the case, you can submit anAccess to Information and Privacy (ATIP) request. The result of this request is an ATIP note. This document is almost similar in purpose to the refusal letter.

The difference is that an ATIP note tells you the reasons for refusal specifically. By “specifically”, we mean “specific to your case”. For this reason, you have a better understanding of what to change or add in your application.

It takes no more than a month to receive this. This might seem like a long time, but the document is worth the wait. It will contain detailed information to help you address inefficiencies. This also helps with your immigration appeal.

This service is open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. It is also available to temporary residents inside Canada. If you are none of these, you might need help from a third party (e.g. immigration consultant).

Step 3: Determine Your Eligibility To Apply….. With Some Professional Help

Before you appeal your visa refusal, you will need to see if you have grounds to challenge IRCC’s decision. You now have information from your letter and ATIP note.

This and the next step are not ones you want to go through alone. An immigration appeal is filled with rules, guidelines, and documents. For this, you can enlist the help of :

  • An immigration law firm or immigration lawyer
  • An immigration consultant

They are well-versed in the immigration process. Hence, they are qualified to help you with your immigration appeal. They can also give you tips on how to present your documents differently.

True, it is tempting to go about your Canada immigration process DIY-style. However, If IRCC rejected your application, you may have made a mistake. An immigration law firm could minimize the chances of this happening a second time. With an immigration lawyer, you take much of the guesswork out of your immigration appeal.

To be clear, immigration lawyers or consultants cannot reverse the decision of IRCC. They can help you with your documents and other parts of your Canadian immigration. Their help could minimize errors. This, in turn, could increase the chances of your immigration appeal.

Step 4: File Your Appeal

IRCC refuses or accepts visa applications. Nonetheless, it is not IRCC you are directing your immigration appeal to.

The Federal Court of Canada receives every immigration appeal. The Federal Court of Canada does not issue your permanent resident card. Instead, their decision could influence whether IRCC should continue to process your immigration or not. That is why you file your appeal to the Federal Court of Canada.

Notice For Judicial Review

The first step to filing your appeal is your notice to the Federal Court of Canada. To appeal, you first have to give a notice for a judicial review. In a judicial review, a representative from the court’s immigration division will look at your case. The immigration division will determine the lawfulness of IRCC’s decision to refuse your application. If there is an error on the part of the immigration officer or IRCC, the federal court can rule in your favor. Then, your application will be re-processed.

The Federal Court of Canada’s main site has all the necessary forms and guidelines for this.

There is a time limit for filing this. Inside Canada, you have 15 days from the day you received your refusal. If you live outside Canada, you need to give your notice for judicial review within 60 days. This is also from the day of your refusal.

Letter of Appeal

Once you have filed your notice, you need to write a letter of appeal. Again, your immigration lawyer or consultant will be helpful with this. You can choose any format, but your letter must contain the following:

  • The date of the letter
  • The address of the embassy
  • The date you received your refusal letter (or the date your application was refused)
  • The reasons for refusal mentioned in the ATIP note or refusal letter
  • Why you think the decision was wrong
  • How you saw that there was an error in the decision
  • Travel history
  • Previous visas
  • Your reasons for wanting a Canadian visa
  • Your full name and (handwritten) signature

Of course, this is a letter of appeal, so you want to create a sense of urgency. Your lawyer or immigration consultant can help you sound more persuasive.

You should also have all of your documents as attachments.

Some Considerations

Appealing refusals is pretty much the same across all Canadian visas. Be that as it may, each visa is different. For this reason, here are some things to consider depending on the visa you are applying for.

Student Visas

Since 2018, there have been two common reasons for student visa refusals: a lack of proof to return to one’s home country and insufficient documentation.

This is important to remember. A student visa is a temporary visa, so IRCC expects its holder to leave Canada when it expires. For this, an applicant needs to show proof that he or she intends to go back to his or her country. IRCC’s decision could be reversed by:

  • Proof of decent job prospects in the home country
  • Properties, funds, and assets in the home country
  • Proof of significant familial ties in the home country

All these factors signify a decision to remain in Canada temporarily.

When it comes to documentation, it is important to include the educational institution’s acceptance letter. Also, it must be genuine and accompany other supporting documents. This way, immigration officers will not doubt the authenticity.

Work Permits

It is one thing to be “refused”. Getting a “return” of the application is different. Often, applicants of work permits confuse these two terms. They do not mean the same thing.

A “refused” application is the result of ineligibility. It means that the applicant failed to meet certain standards to be eligible. These standards could include health, finances, criminal background, work experience, and education.

A “return” is non-admission to Canada due to a lack of vacancy. An applicant may be eligible, but the maximum number of applicants for a program may have been reached. Also, this is the result of incomplete information and not inaccurate or misleading information.

Just like a student visa, a work permit is temporary. Overstaying could result in a removal order from CSBA. If you are already on a work permit, you can decide to go home or apply as a permanent resident. However, it has to be done within the time permitted by the visa.

For Sponsors

Something needs to be said about sponsorships. A very common area of confusion is who should appeal. Is it the sponsor or principal applicant? Or, should it be the person being sponsored?

In the case of a sponsorship refusal, the appeal has to be made by the principal applicant or sponsor. To file the appeal, the principal sponsor must do so within the same time frame and process mentioned earlier. Any appeal for sponsorship is received by the Immigration Appeal Division. The appeal division carries out judicial reviews for sponsorship applications.

There is one situation where a principal sponsor may not file a sponsorship appeal. A principal applicant or sponsor cannot appeal on behalf of a criminally inadmissible partner.

The Immigration Appeal Division has a similar appeal-related function with the Federal Courts of Canada.

The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada oversees the Immigration Appeal Division. To learn more, you can visit the Immigration Appeal Division page.


Visa refusals occur from time to time. Nevertheless, it should not negatively affect your decision for a better life in Canada. If it happens, know that you can challenge the decision. It is your right to do so.

Don’t let this possibility paralyze you into hesitation. At the beginning of the application process, make sure everything is ready. This already minimizes the chance of your application being turned down. If your application gets rejected, you can always just appeal the decision.

With the help of an immigration consultant and this article, you will be a step further.

Choose Canada Magazine

Each member of our team at Choose Canada Magazine has been in Canada for over five years, and has helped dozens of people worldwide find their life in Canada.

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