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Understanding Visa and Immigration Refusals: A Comprehensive Guide

Visa and immigration refusals can be a daunting experience for many individuals. However, understanding the reasons behind these refusals and the options available afterwards can help alleviate some of the stress associated with the process.

What Happens After a Canadian Visa Refusal?

When a Canadian visa is refused, there are several options available to the applicant. These include reconsideration, reapplication, appeal, or judicial review. The choice among these options depends on the reasons for refusal, the type of application, and the individual's circumstances.

Temporary Visa Refusal

In the case of a temporary visa refusal, the refusal letter usually contains general reasons, and more specific details can be found in the visa officer's notes. To access these notes, the applicant must make a request. The subsequent course of action depends on the fairness and reasonability of the decision, the applicant's eligibility for a visa, the supporting documents that were submitted, and other factors.

If a mistake was made by the visa officer or if important supporting documents were disregarded, the applicant can request a reconsideration of the negative decision, without the need for additional fees. This request should ideally be made within a ten-day period. If reconsideration is not a viable option, the applicant can reapply and address the issues of the previous refusal by adding new documents and arguments to clarify and explain the situation. If the application ends up with a refusal again, an application for judicial review to the Federal Court of Canada is another option.

Immigration Visa Refusal

For permanent residence (PR) applications, there are more options compared to temporary visa refusals. For instance, if an outland sponsorship application is refused, the sponsor may appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD). If an individual loses their PR status due to not meeting residency obligations, they can also appeal to the IAD. Refugees can appeal negative decisions to the Refugee Appeal Division (RAD), but only if the panel member made a mistake of fact or law. With Express Entry refusals, if a mistake occurs, one can apply for leave to the Federal Court of Canada for review.

It's important to note that deadlines are strict in appeals and reviews. For example:

  • Sponsorship appeal: Notice of Appeal must be filed within 30 days to the IAD by a sponsor.

  • Refugee appeal: Notice of Appeal must be filed within 15 days to the RAD by a refugee claimant.

  • Residency obligation appeal: Notice of Appeal must be filed within 60 days after you received the IRCC written decision.

  • Judicial review at the Federal Court of Canada: application must be filed within 15 days if the matter arises in Canada or 60 days for a matter arising outside Canada.


Visa and immigration refusals can be a challenging hurdle to overcome. However, with a clear understanding of the reasons behind the refusal and the options available afterwards, individuals can make informed decisions on the best course of action. It's crucial to remember that each case is unique, and what works for one individual might not work for another. Therefore, it's always advisable to seek professional legal advice when dealing with visa and immigration refusals.

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