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How to Appeal Canada Visitor Visa Refusal

Canada has remained incredibly popular with tourists and long-term migrants in recent decades. For many, Canada offers an enticing blend of safety, rugged and unspoiled beauty, and vast opportunity. In 2018, Canada saw a record-breaking number of international travellers, equating to over 21 million tourists. This was the fifth consecutive year of international tourist growth, which is in part being driven by the increasing number of flight connections to the country. Travellers from China, Mexico, India, and the UK are increasingly turning to Canada as the destination of choice. When it comes to immigration paperwork, visitors typically require either an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to visit or transit through Canada, depending on the country of origin and the circumstances of the individual. To check which you need, it is advisable to complete the questionnaire on the Canadian immigration services website. If you are required to apply for a visitor visa, and this has been refused, you will most likely be concerned as to why you have not been accepted, and what your options are now. In this article, we will focus on the appeal process for those who have been refused a visitor visa for Canada.

Why Might My Application for a Canada Visitor Visa Have Been Refused?

The reasons for refusal vary from case to case, but you may have been refused due to:

  • Not meeting one or more of the eligibility criteria
  • A mistake made by the case officer who decided your application
  • A mistake made in your application
  • Concerns regarding your criminal history
  • Overstaying in Canada in the past
  • Concerns regarding your health
  • Concerns that you are not a genuine visitor

The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website explains clearly that, “Some people are not admissible to Canada, which means they are not allowed to enter the country. You can be inadmissible for several reasons, including being involved in:

  • criminal activity
  • human rights violations
  • organized crime

You can also be inadmissible for security, health or financial reasons”. As such, some individuals will be refused on all counts, even if they appeal. In many cases, however, visitors are able to gain a positive decision after receiving a refusal.

The reasons why your application has been refused should be explained to you in your decision email/letter. If you are unsure why your application has been refused, it may be prudent to contact IRCC directly. If this does not help you to understand why your application has been refused, it is advisable to engage the services of an immigration Solicitor who will be able to review your application and determine the likely cause of the problem, and then recommend a solution.

What are my Options if my Canada Visitor Visa Has Been Refused?

The two main options you have at this stage are to either reapply or appeal. The best option for you will depend on your circumstances and the reason for the refusal. If a mistake has been made when processing your application, then the appeal route may be preferable. Given that the application process for a visitor visa is relatively quick and inexpensive (i.e. when compared to long-term visa applications), even if you do have grounds for appeal, it still may be faster and easier overall to simply reapply. If you do wish to appeal, you will typically only have a very limited window of time in which to do so (typically 30 days).

If your reason for refusal was clearly due to your circumstances, meaning that if you reapply, you are likely to receive the same decision, then it is advisable to speak to an immigration consultant. It may be that a comprehensive covering letter is needed to explain to IRCC why you do not pose a threat or why you are a genuine visitor.

If you do plan to appeal, then your decision letter should explain whether you have grounds to do so, the timeframe which applies, and how to appeal. This may be through the immigration Adjudication Division (IAD) or by making a request for Restoration to the Case Processing Centre (CPC).

Which Areas of my Application Should I Focus On When I Reapply?

If you plan to reapply, it is essential that you review your application from the stand-point of how the immigration official will see your case. They may look in particular at why you are travelling to Canada, how long you plan to stay in the country, your prior travel history, that you have enough money for your stay, that you are in good health, your ties to your home country (i.e. that you have a job, home, financial assets or family to return home to), and your criminal and immigration history. Most importantly, they want to know that you are travelling for a genuine reason and that you will leave Canada at the end of your stay. From a financial perspective, it is important to show that you have sufficient funds for the purpose and length of your stay.

Again, if you are unsure how to prepare your new application, it is important to speak to immigration lawyers who will be able to help you prepare your case and check it prior to submission. It is very likely that if you simply resubmit the same application or an application with broadly the same information, you can expect to receive another refusal. Your new application should always have new information which will substantively alter the strength of your case.

Final Words

Knowing what to do if your immigration application is refused requires knowledge of the system and process in the specific country you are applying to. In most cases, it is preferable to reapply for a visitor visa, especially given that appeals can take time to process to completion. The key though is ensuring that you know why your application was refused. Without this knowledge, you do run the risk of further refusal. It is always prudent to run your thinking past an immigration lawyer first, as they will be able to confirm whether your new application is likely to succeed. If they believe it is not, they will recommend a strategy to overcome the problem.

Related article

Know the Eligibility Requirement for Permanent Residency in Canada

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