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When Your Visitor/Student/Work Visa Application Gets Refused

Posted on 02/12/2021

Do you want to know why you’ve been refused temporary residence in Canada? Here’s a quick look at what guidelines IRCC officers consider when deciding whether to allow you to enter Canada on a temporary basis: normally for temporary work permits, study permits, or visitor visas.

When do they decide?

Immigration officers reviewing your case have 2 options for deciding when to refuse your entry:

  • After they review your written application but before any interview, in which case there will be no interview as the decision to refuse your entry will already have been made.
  • At the end of an interview with you (done after your written application is reviewed).


On what basis do they decide?

In their guidelines for immigration officials, IRCC highlights 2 sections of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and 1 section of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR).


  • Section 11(1): A foreign national must, before entering Canada, apply to an officer for a visa or for any other document required by the regulations. The visa or document may be issued if, following an examination, the officer is satisfied that the foreign national is not inadmissible and meets the requirements of this Act.


  • Section 20(1)(b): Obligation on entry Every foreign national, other than a foreign national referred to in section 19, who seeks to enter or remain in Canada must establish,
    • (a)to become a permanent resident, that they hold the visa or other document required under the regulations and have come to Canada in order to establish permanent residence; and
    • (b)to become a temporary resident, that they hold the visa or other document required under the regulations and will leave Canada by the end of the period authorized for their stay.



  • Section 179: An officer shall issue a temporary resident visa to a foreign national if, following an examination, it is established that the foreign national
    • (a)has applied in accordance with these Regulations for a temporary resident visa as a member of the visitor, worker or student class;
    • (b)will leave Canada by the end of the period authorized for their stay under Division 2;
    • (c)holds a passport or other document that they may use to enter the country that issued it or another country;
    • (d)meets the requirements applicable to that class;
    • (e)is not inadmissible;
    • (f)meets the requirements of subsections 30(2) and (3), if they must submit to a medical examination under paragraph 16(2)(b) of the Act; and
    • (g)is not the subject of a declaration made under subsection 22.1(1) of the Act.


In plain English, the main concerns of immigration officials when deciding whether to let you enter Canada on a temporary basis are:

  • Do you have a valid reason to visit/study/work in Canada on a temporary basis?
  • Will you leave Canada at the end of your authorized stay?
  • Are you admissible to Canada or do you have inadmissibility or other issues? (i.e. not fulfilling the requirements listed in IRPR 179)

What officials look for are whether you are linked to any of the following:

  • Security issues
  • Human or International rights violations
  • Criminality (do you have a criminal record?)
  • Organized criminality (narcotics, smuggling, money laundering, extorsion, computer fraud/scams etc.)
  • Health (do you have an infectious disease that is potentially dangerous?)
  • Financial reasons (do you have sufficient funds for your visit or are you in fact looking for work, or is the source of your money suspicious?)
  • Misrepresentation (have you lied in your application?)
    • PLEASE NOTE: If you are denied entry due to Misrepresentation you will receive a letter of refusal that additionally states that you are banned from entering Canada for a further 5 years from the date the refusal letter was issued. This is called an A40 Refusal Letter because section 40 if IRPA deals with misrepresentation.
  • Non-compliance with IRPA (can be any part of the Act the official deems relevant)
  • Inadmissible family members


What can I do if I am refused entry?

When an IRCC officer denies your application for entry they must enter the reasons why in a government data system called Global Case Management System (GCMS). The case notes must include the following information:

  • An outline of the circumstances of your application
  • An outline of the process the officer followed in making their decision
  • A note of the presence of an interpreter – if any was required
  • How the officer took into account any representations of interested people (people who may have submitted information supporting your application, for example, or the information your legal counsel submitted supporting your application if you had legal counsel).
  • Notes about the nature and content of these representations
  • Provide details of the reasons for the officer’s refusal of your application for temporary residence in Canada.

Why do these case notes matter?

Here’s why. You can appeal the decision to one of the following:

  • Federal Court of Canada
  • Canadian Human Rights Commission

AND during your appeal, the IRCC case officer MUST provide their case notes to the Federal Court or Human Rights Commission.

Remember however, that an appeal is never a guaranteed success, and you will normally need to have legal representation in order to have a chance of success. However, if you feel strongly about the refusal of your application for temporary residence in Canada, an appeal is a route you can always take.


Posted in Tips and tagged Study permit application refused, Visitor visa application refused, Work permit application refused

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