My application has just been refused. Now what?

Posted on 08/11/2016

You submitted your application according to the instructions posted on Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) website. You provided all the required documents. You truthfully answered every question asked. You waited patiently to hear from IRCC. Then a decision came in: Your application was refused.

You could not believe that your application was refused. You found that the refusal reasons did not make any sense. You are disappointed. You feel you were unfairly treated. You are angry.  You want to appeal the decision to get justice. Then you were hit with another blow: you cannot afford the expensive appeal cost.  Now what?

Calm down. Anger will not help. When your application is refused, as you may already know, you have two options: you can either appeal the decision or not appeal the decision.

Appealing the Decision

If you decide to appeal the decision, you need to act immediately upon receiving the decision letter. The reason for this is because there is a deadline to file an appeal regardless of whether the appeal is to the Immigration Appeal Division or to the Federal Court for judicial review. Depending on the type of application and what decision you are appealing, the deadline is 15 days from receipt of the letter, 30 days or 60 days at the longest. Failure to respond by the statutory deadline will require you to file a motion for an extension of time, which results in additional expense and could lead to you being denied a remedy in court. So it is essential that you need to seek legal advice and decide to appeal as soon as possible.

Not Appealing the Decision

If you decide not to appeal the decision, it doesn’t mean that there is nothing else you can do but re-apply. You can address the refusal by requesting re-consideration if you believe that there are strong merits in your application. Typically the best way to start is to file an Access to Information (ATIP) request immediately. The ATIP will provide more detailed information on how the decision was reached. If the decision is clearly flawed, you can move quickly by asking the adjudicating office to reconsider the application. This will definitely maximize your chances for an early resolution and thereby avoid the cost of litigation.

I recently had a case which was successfully re-considered. The visa office based their refusal on  the claim that they did not receive the required additional documents from the client. However, the ATIP showed that the required documents were indeed provided. When we provided the ATIP, the visa office re-opened the file right away and issued the visa to the client.

I have another case which is being re-opened as well thanks to the ATIP disclosure. The client was required to do a medical follow-up test. Unfortunately, due to the lack of communication between the visa office and the doctor’s office, the client’s application was refused for failing to comply with the medical request. Now the client’s file has been reopened and the client has completed her follow-up test. We are waiting for a final decision.

If you have exhausted the above options and you want to submit a new application, the last thing you should do is to send the same application as you did the last time. There are a lot of  ways that you can improve your application. You should at least address the areas which caused your last refusal and improve on the following:

  • The person inviting you could improve on his/her invitation letter.
  • You could improve your employment reference documents.
  • You could improve the proof of your financial situation.
  • You could improve your English or French language abilities (if applicable).
  • You could improve explaining your purpose of coming to Canada, etc.

Just to name a few examples.

It is crucial to submit a well prepared application in the first place. But if the application is refused for various reasons, it is equally important to analyze the situation and make the best decision for your next step.


If you don’t want to submit the same application again, get help from Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant Mary Zhang, how has years of experience appealing refusals. Contact Max Can Immigration at our Markham office.


Posted in Tips and tagged Appeals, Immigration, Refusals

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