Why was my Canadian tourist visa refused?

Canadian tourist visa refused?

Toronto Star published an article this week about a Peruvian man, Jorge Sanabria, who was scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at Wilfrid Laurier University in June but denied a tourist visa (temporary resident visa) to Canada without any apparent reason.

Regulation 179 is the section of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that allows visa officers to reject applications on the suspicion they might try to stay in Canada beyond their temporary stay. However, no detailed reason for refusal needs to be given and the applicant is notified by a simple little “form letter” with check-mark indicated stating the supposed grounds for refusal.

For example, a common reason is that the applicant has failed to demonstrate that he or she would not leave Canada after their intended visit. Not much help for applicants wondering why they visas were refused.

This regulation does not apply to 53 countries for which citizens can come visit Canada without temporary resident visas, but it does apply to the 145 countries from which citizens need visas to come to Canada.

No statistics are kept on why visas are refused, but one-third of the five million visitors to Canada in 2009 needed temporary resident visas. Of these 1.5 million people, almost 300,000 were refused just for not meeting requirements of Regulation 179.

While there are no official criteria regarding Regulation 179 that would suggest a visitor might stay, there are also no official criteria available that would prove an applicant would leave. So, people planning trips to come to Canada have no real idea whether their applications will be denied or accepted–sometimes even in cases where they have purchased a return ticket home and have a job and family waiting for them in their home country.

Jorge Sanabria had provided the government with his passport, a letter from his employer, a document showing his invitation to speak and information about his family in Peru with his application but was still denied.

Options available when Canadian tourist visa refused

When an immigration application is refused, applicants still have several options available to them including filing an appeal to the Federal Court of Canada. Usually these refusal decisions are made by a single immigration officer who may have made an error in law or fact regarding the application. If such is the case, consider either appealing or even re-applying with more detail about the merits of your case. Don’t give up!

So why was your Canadian tourist visa refused denied? Often there is really no good answer. You are welcome to contact us, Niren and Associates immigration law firm if you’re facing a Canadian tourist visa refusal.


Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.

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About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the American Bar Association. He is frequently called upon to appear in the media to discuss Canadian and US immigration issues effecting North Americans. He has been interviewed by Canada AM, CTV, Canada News Net, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star and has given lectures on immigration topics overseas.

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