Travel history for Canadian visitor visa

travel history and visitor visa in Canada

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?

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

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:

[12] 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:

Of course, the recency of these decisions shows that Dhanoa v. Canada is still valid. Therefore, practitioners may refer to that decision in their submission letters or requests for reconsideration.

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.

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    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.