5 Reasons Your Visitor Visa Was Denied


I get a lot of people contacting me after their visitor visa application was denied.  In this post, I’m going to describe the top 5 reasons why visitor visas are denied in my experience.

1) Misunderstanding the test for issuing a visitor visa

A visitor visa (or temporary resident visa) application is required from citizens of certain countries because the Canadian government considers citizens of those countries are more likely than not to overstay in Canada (that is, there is a risk that they will not return to their home country).

As a result, the primary question in the visa officer’s mind when reviewing such an application is this: “Will this person return to his or her own country the visitor visa expires?”

The evidence you submit should help to prove your case that you will return after your visitor visa expires.

There are of course other considerations, such as the ability to support yourself in Canada (which you should prove through bank statements or an invitation letter discussed below), inadmissibility, and so forth.

2) You submitted only the documents on the Citizenship and Immigration Canada checklist

As a recap, here are the documents that CIC requires for a typical visitor visa (though keep in mind documents can vary depending on your location and other circumstances):

– Forms
– Fees
– Photos
– Passport
– Proof of financial support
– Photocopy of your return ticket and/or travel itinerary
– Any additional documents required by the local visa office

Recall the test for issuing a visitor visa in #1, above. Do you think these documents alone will prove your case to the visa officer? Perhaps, but in many cases, perhaps not.

Often, submitting only those documents are not enough to make your case that you will return to your home country after your visit. Generally, it is wise to submit as much evidence as you can beyond the minimum required by CIC.

3) You didn’t submit evidence of all of your connections to your home country

Many applicants do not take the time to consider all of their connections to their home country, and the evidence to prove it.

For example, obvious connections are things like property and employment. You should include copies (translated by a certified translator if necessary) of title deeds or lease agreements to property, and detailed employment letters or contracts that identify you as a permanent employee, the length of your employment, your role at the company, and when you are expected to return to your employment.

However, there are other connections that may be persuasive as well. Are you a leader or an active member in a community organization or church? Get evidence of your role and duties. Do you care for aged family members? Again, get evidence of your responsibilities.

Some connections to your country are tough to document, which leads me to reason number 4, below.

4) You didn’t submit affidavits to support your application

A sworn affidavit is considered evidence. If you have friends or family who can support your claims of connections to your home country (for example), then you should have them swear affidavits to include with your application.

An affidavit is much more powerful than a simple support letter, as there are legal consequences for swearing a false affidavit, which makes them much more persuasive than support letters.

5) Your invitation letter was not detailed enough

As part of your reasons for coming to Canada, or to show that you’ll have food and lodging in Canada, it is wise to get an invitation letter from your relatives (or friends) in Canada to support your application.

However, the letter should not be too brief. It should be detailed and clearly state that this individual will provide free food and lodging (if that is the case) for you during your entire stay in Canada.

It should include your full name and birth date, and also confirm the travel dates that you will be in Canada.

More than that, it is essential that the invitation letter be signed by the individual, and have a contact phone number and address in case CIC wishes to confirm this person’s intention.

Like any immigration application, there is no guarantee of success, but avoiding these 5 mistakes will give your application a better chance of success.

This post does not constitute legal advice – you should consult with a lawyer so he or she can evaluate your unique circumstances and application materials.

About the author

Gianpaolo Panusa Gianpaolo Panusa is a Canadian immigration lawyer, writer, and founder of the PanCanadian Immigration Law Group based in Vancouver, Canada. Google+ Profile

  1. May 7, 2015

    Hi I am a non-EU PhD student in UK. I want to go to Canada for visit. Could you please guide me about the documents, I should provide with the application?

  2. September 12, 2017

    My 65 years old mother was recently denied visitor visa . She lives in Pakistan . She is a house wife and her property still belongs to her deceased husband. She has limited funds in her bank account. The reason for denial was the weak socioeconomic link . The visa officer refused to grant visa and stated that she may not leave Canada. I am very upset and want her to reapply but kindly suggest me how to make her case strong

    • Evelyn Ackah
      September 28, 2017

      Thanks for Commenting. We try to be as responsive as possible, for a faster response please email us at contact@ackahlaw.com or phone: (403) 452-9515; Toll-free: 1 (800) 932-1190 (North America).

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