Five potential options for visa or immigration application refusals

Sometimes the immigration authorities refuse your application to visit, study, work, or immigrate to Canada. Refusal is hurtful, but you could do something about it. This article shows you five potential options for visa or immigration application refusals.

  1. Appeal the Decision
  2. File for Judicial Review
  3. Request for Reconsideration
  4. Consider Alternative Options
  5. Apply Again!
  6. Bonus: Let us help!

Option #1 – Appeal the Decision

Under certain circumstances, you may appeal the decision of the officer to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). Section 63 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) lists these circumstances as follows:

There is no right to appeal for inadmissibility due to the following issues:

  • security,
  • violating human or international rights,
  • serious criminality,
  • organized criminality, or
  • misrepresentation.

Spouses and children are exempt from the misrepresentation prohibition, and they may still appeal to the immigration officer’s decision.

There is no right to appeal for other applications such as Temporary Resident Visas (TRV), Express Entry applications, Temporary Resident Permits (TRP), or Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP).

If you do not have the right to appeal, you could have the right to Judicial Review. If the IAD allows your appeal, your application will be approved (with some exceptions). If the IAD refuses your appeal, you could have the right to file for a Judicial Review.

Option #2 – Judicial Review

If you have no right to appeal or the IAD refuses your appeal, you could file for Judicial Review under section 72 of the IRPA. The authority that reviews such applications is the Federal Court of Canada. The Judicial Review process usually consists of two steps.

  • Step 1 – an Application for Leave for Judicial Review: Your lawyer will submit a request to the court and asks for Judicial Review. If the court accepts the request, the court will hear your case at an oral hearing.
  • Step 2 – Oral Hearing: The judge hears both sides of the story and decides whether to vote in your favour or not. If they do, your case will be returned to the immigration authorities for a fair review.

Unlike the appeal hearings, even if you win a judicial review case, you may still refuse immigration authorities. The odds will be in your favour for sure, but there is no guarantee of success.  The Judicial Review process could review the errors of the officer in fact or law. It also considers procedural fairness or rather whether the application was processed fairly and in a timely fashion.

<<Also read: Why was my application refused and how can I submit a request for more details?>>

Option #3 – Request for Reconsideration

You may contact the immigration officer via the IRCC Web Form or email and request for reconsideration. When you submit such requests, make sure to consider the following:

  • Be courteous to the immigration officer.
  • Be clear about your request.
  • Explain why you believe you deserve reconsideration
  • Present any documents that support your request
  • Refer to the potential Humanitarian and Compassionate elements of your request (e.g. the hardship you are facing and the best interests of a child affected by the decision of the officer)

Immigration officers tend to ignore most requests for reconsideration, but they may decide to reopen your case if it goes through. I have another article that explains such requests in more detail.

Option 4 – Consider Alternative Options

Sometimes alternative options could be available to you. For example,

  • Apply for a TRP if the refusal of the application is due to inadmissibility 
  • Apply for a record suspension if you are inadmissible to Canada because of a criminal record in Canada
  • Apply for rehabilitation if you are inadmissible due to a criminal record outside Canada (certain limitations apply)
  • Apply for an Authorization to Return to Canada (ARC) if you have received an Exclusion or a Deportation order
  • File for a pre-removal risk assessment in case your refugee claim is refused (certain limitations apply)
  • Apply under the Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) considerations, if there is the basis for H&C (e.g. the best interests of a child)
  • Apply for another method of immigration (e.g. Express Entry instead of sponsorship). Of course, you need to meet the requirements of the alternative method.

You may consult with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) or an immigration lawyer for your potential alternatives.

Option # 5 – Apply Again

If the refusal is not because of inadmissibility or misrepresentation, you could apply again. However, do so if you either have new evidence to offer or your circumstances have changed significantly. Make sure to address the previous officer’s concerns in your new application.

Let us help!

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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.