Travel history for Canadian visitor visa
Farhad’s sister recently moved to Canada. He misses her and wants to visit her. However, as an Iranian citizen, Farhad needs a visitor visa to travel to Canada. He has heard travel history is essential for a Canadian visitor visa. Nonetheless, Farhad has never left his country in the past. Will that be a problem?
Table of contents
Officers consider travel history as a factor for a visitor visa.
It is not uncommon to see a refusal letter that includes the following sentence:
I am not satisfied that you will leave Canada at the end of your stay, as stipulated in subsection ??? of the IRPR, based on your travel history.For study permit replace ??? with 216(1)(b). For work permit replace it with 200(1)(b), and for visitor visa 179(b).
A recent report by CIMM shows officers continue refusing visitor visa applications for spouses based on their travel history. Of course, they have also mentioned other factors in their March 2022 report. Here is an excerpt:
In 2019, top refusal grounds for a temporary resident visa for spousal sponsorship applicants were due to the inability to establish that the person would leave at the end of their authorized stay (R179(b)) and related to either purpose of travel, family ties, assets, travel history, or current employment.Source: canada.ca
Is there a legal basis for associating visitor visas with travel history?
In a landmark decision by Federal Court in 2009, Justice Harrington concluded that travel history is neutral at best. Consequently, the officers may favour those who have travelled outside their home country. However, they may not refuse an application based on a lack of travel history. Paragraph 12 of the decision reads as follows:
 Lack of previous travel can only at most be a neutral factor. If one had travelled and always returned, the visa officer’s concerns might be lessened. If one came to Canada, claimed refugee status and was not permitted to stay here on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, an application for a temporary work permit would obviously heighten suspicions.Dhanoa v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2009 FC 729 (CanLII), https://canlii.ca/t/24ttn, retrieved on 2022-07-01
Some recent decisions by Federal Court corroborate this decision. Here are some examples:
- Kouyate v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2021 FC 622 (CanLII), https://canlii.ca/t/jhjtw, see paragraphs 5 and 10
- Chantale v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2021 FC 544 (CanLII), https://canlii.ca/t/jgnhp, see paragraph 9
- Perez Pena v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2021 FC 491 (CanLII), https://canlii.ca/t/jgnhl, see paragraph 29
- Patel v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), 2020 FC 517 (CanLII), https://canlii.ca/t/j95zp, see paragraph 18
Why do they do it?
The Federal Court offers judicial oversight for the immigration authorities. Consequently, one expects the officers to respect multiple decisions by the Court and stop refusing applications based on travel history. Well, our records show otherwise. It is confusing why this practice continues. Of course, until we see a change, you have no choice but to consider travel history as a factor in processing your study permit, work permit, or visitor visa application.
Let us help!
If you face a visitor visa refusal or other immigration issues, fill out the following form. Alternatively, please book a consultation session with me or fill out our assessment form. Moreover, I offer mentorship sessions for licensed practitioners.
Read this in Spanish
Would you please fill out our free assessment form if you wish to visit or move to Canada? We will review it for free, but we will contact you only if we find an opportunity for you. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session. Consultation sessions are not free, but you will receive formal immigration advice from a licensed practitioner.
Al Parsai, LLM, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Adjunct Professor – Queen’s University – Faculty of Law
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada
Fill our Free Canada Immigration Assessment Form in your language!
This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.
The characters and places in the articles:
All the characters and locations in the articles are fictional, unless otherwise clearly stated. Therefore, any resemblance in names, dates, and places is coincidental.
For our official addresses, trust this website only. We currently do not have offices outside Canada. Therefore, anyone who claims to be our agent is committing fraud. Also, note that we do not issue any work permits or study permits or similar documents. The government of Canada has the sole authority to issue such material.