What is a refusal on Canada visa application?

A refused application means rejection on your application for a Canada visa.

When visa officers determine that in his opinion you do not meet the requirements for a certain Canada visa application, they refuse the application. Most importantly, Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations and Ministerial Instructions outline the eligibility criteria. Further, the application documents also influence the decisions.

Why was your application refused?

The refusal letter may not have everything that you need to know.

Despite all the hard work in collecting and preparing documents, a visa officer refuses your application. There may be various reasons outlined in the IRPA and IRPR. However, there is also a possibility that something went wrong in your application. Maybe your application could have been presented better. Many of the refusals can be traced back to unauthorized representatives. Browsing online you will find horrifying stories of how some illegal agent misguided and resulted in refusals or worse inadmissibility due you misrepresentation.

What can you do when your application is refused?

Hint: you can probably do a lot more than you think!

The best approach is probing the root cause of the refusal. Firstly, If you simply were not eligible then you can work on building your eligibility before submitting next application. If you believe that you are eligible, very first step should be to order the GCMS notes from the IRCC. These will help you taking a deeper dive into the assessment of your application. In case, if you don’t have a copy of your submitted documents, you can obtain it through getGCMS process. It is very common for unauthorized agents to not give you documents after submission.

Canadian Immigration Lawyer

What is an appeal?

A formal process for reviewing a decision already made on your application.

Depending on the type of application, there are few ways to request Canada to re-look at your previously made decision. Not every application is eligible for an appeal. For the appeal eligible applications, there is a time limit by which IRCC must receive a request of appeal.

Who can appeal a decision?

Canadian Immigration Law outlines who has right of appeal. If you don’t have right of appeal you can still ask for a judicial review.

Permanent residents and refugees have right to appeal in certain situations. Further, IRPA and IRPA outline if you have right of appeal on not. One of the most common examples of appeals are spousal sponsorships.

However, for foreign nationals who do not have right of appeal. They can ask for a judicial review through Federal Court of Canada. Although, you would need a lawyer in Canada to act on your behalf.

Who hears the appeals?

Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB)

IRB is the largest administrative tribunal of Canada. It hears immigration and refugee matters. It is an independent board, and IRCC and the Minister does not dictate these decisions. IRB has four different tribunals.


  1. Refugee Protection Division (RPD)
  2. Refugee Appeal Division (RAD)
  3. Immigration Division (ID)
  4. Immigration Appeal Division (IAD).
Canadian Immigration Experts

Few things to keep in mind!

Here are few very important points to keep in mind for reviewing your refusals and considering the appeal options.
  • Depending on appeal type, you may not submit new evidence.
  • You must act within the specified timeframe.
  • Best practices is to access your application with getGCMS.
  • Judicial review maybe an expensive process considering the legal costs associated.
  • In conclusion, reapplication addressing the officer’s concerns may be as effective.