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Recovery after a Refusal ...

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

... or two or three or four.

Have you applied for a study permit, a work permit, or a visitor permit and been denied a visa? If you have, you know the feeling of disappointment ... and then the questions. What caused the visa refusal, did I do something wrong in my application, what's the next step, can I recover from this?

Many people have visas denied or refused. This is not ideal but it is not uncommon either. There are various reason for refusal including lack of funds, lack of ties to one's country of citizenship or residence which lead the officer to believe that you may not leave Canada at the end of your valid status, lack of travel history, lack of a good reason to participate in your chosen area of study.

The reasons given by the officer may be due to a genuine lack of one of these things or, it could be that you simply did not include sufficient information in your application.

If you choose to reapply it is important that you address the officer's concerns directly and to demonstrate why they should not be problematic for your application.

Steps to Follow After a Refusal

1. Determine why the visa was denied. The reason or reasons will be listed in the refusal letter.

2. If you require more information request the officer's case notes. You can do this by completing an Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) online request. The cost is $5 per request.

3. Assess the reasons for refusal. Do you have additional documentation to provide? Did the officer make an error? If the officer made an error you may consider doing a request for reconsideration via online IRCC webform.

4. If you have determined that you can provide more information or that the officer has made an error it is time to reapply.

5. This time, make sure that you create a second complete application. However, you will need to make sure to address the officer's concerns head-on. It is best to provide a Letter of Explanation with your application, as well as supporting documents.

What is a Letter of Explanation?

A Letter of Explanation is a letter that will explain what is included in your application and will draw attention to the concerns that the officer presented in relation to your previous application.

This will be included in your online application as a "Submission Letter" or in "Client Information."


Recently a client from South America was denied a visitor permit because the officer did not believe the client would return to their home country prior to the expiry of their valid status.

The officer indicated that there was insufficient travel history to support the applicant's case. However, the applicant had a history of working in other countries and of leaving prior to the end of his valid status. He also had a strong history of travel in general to both countries that required him to obtain a visa and those that didn't require him to have a visa, in addition to holding valid work status in his country of residence which was not his country of citizenship.

In this case, we reapplied and highlighted this information (we literally put the information in a box in the submission letter) which caused a positive decision on the second application.

In another case, a client was denied work permits on three separate occasions before submitting a successful application. In order to reach a positive decision the client had to provide an LMIA based job offer and a considerable amount of evidence demonstrating his work experience because he had been largely self employed. He provided financial documents, contracts, affidavits of support, licenses, tax filings and more. This led to a positive decision.

A refusal is not the end of the road and should not be viewed as such. Naturally, a refusal is concerning but on multiple occasions, clients with several refusals are able to overcome them simply by reapplying and addressing the refusal with fact.

After a few refusals, your approach must be extremely thorough. Include sufficient evidence. Include a submission that details why the decision made was incorrect. Make sure that this is drawn to the officer's attention so they don't just skip over your application.

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About Us

Immigration Station Canada is a dedicated, professional Canadian Immigration firm practicing out of Northumberland County, just east of Toronto, in Canada. We serve clients from Kingston, Belleville, Brighton, Cobourg, Oshawa, the GTA, Guelph, Milton, Stratford and St. Catharines and around the world. Our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, Anne C. McCaughey (Annie) is an experienced immigration services provider and a fifth generation Canadian who values the immigration process and the unique individuals who immigrate to Canada to become part of the fabric of this wonderful country. If you would like to submit a question to Ask Annie, use the link located at the top right of the page.

How Can We Help?

We do work permits, study permits, visitor visas, Express Entry, spousal sponsorship, family class sponsorship, and Canadian citizenship with an expertise in Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) applications and Global Talent Stream applications.

Please contact us if you would like assistance with your immigration application or to book an appointment.