Canadian Permanent ResidenceCanadian temporary visaRefused Visa

What to Do If Your Canadian Visa Is Rejected

Published on: July 28th, 2015
Last updated: May 16th, 2022

If your Canadian visa is rejected by Immigration, Refugee, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), starting a life in Canada can seem hopeless. However, depending on the visa you applied for, and the reason for its rejection, you may still have options.

Free Assessment

My application to Canada has not been accepted

Your options on how to proceed following a rejection largely depend on two things:

  1. What type of Canadian status you applied for; and
  2. The reason you were not granted your visa

Were you refused a temporary resident visa like a visitor or student permit? Or was it an application for Canadian permanent residence? The type of visa you applied for makes all the difference when determining the best way to proceed.

There is also the important matter of determining if your file was actually “refused” or simply just “returned”.  This is a distinction that might not be clear to you now, but understanding the difference between the two terms is critically important before any attempt to reapply is made.

Refused vs. returned:

If the visa officer assigned to your case determines that your application does not meet the minimum requirements for the visa you are applying for, they will refuse the application. They can also refuse your application for medical or criminal reasons; however, this is a rare occurrence. Typically, any government processing fees paid will not be refunded to you if your application is refused.

Conversely, if your application package is returned to you, it means that you did not provide sufficient documentation to prove your eligibility. You can also have your application package returned to you if the quota for the program you applied under was full at the time your file was received by the immigration authorities. If your application is returned to you, you should be entitled to a refund of the government processing fees that you have paid.

Refused visa:

If you are refused, things can get a bit more complicated than if your application was simply returned. If your visa was refused for medical or criminal inadmissibility, you should contact a qualified Canadian immigration lawyer to advise you further.

If your application was refused for insufficient documents, depending on what they were, you can still come to Canada but you need to reevaluate your documentation. It is advisable to retain a Canadian Immigration lawyer who can help correct any mistakes that were made in your initial application.

It should be mentioned that being refused a temporary visa (student, work or visitor) does not mean you can’t apply for Canadian Permanent Residence. In fact, many refusals for temporary visas are because the visa officer has concerns that you will not leave Canada at the end of your Canadian status. A permanent residence application is just that, permanent. They want you to stay in Canada. As you can see, a refusal does not have to spell disaster for your plans to live in Canada.

Returned file:

If the file is returned, and you miss the quota for the program you are applying for, unfortunately, you are out of luck (unless you are qualified for another immigration category that is still accepting applications).

But if your application was returned because you were missing documents or you incorrectly filled out paperwork, this can easily be overcome by providing the corrected documents and simply reapplying.

Remember, a visa officer will almost never ask you to provide additional documentation to clarify your case. They will either return or refuse your application. With quotas and caps and changes to Canadian Immigration, it is always best to carefully review the requirements of the visa you are applying for and ensure that your application meets, or, exceeds them.

Why risk losing your chance for a better life in Canada over something as minor as a missing document or an unchecked box on your forms. Do it right the first time with some help from your friends at Canadim. Whether you are working overseas or in your home country, let Canadim handle the A-Z of your application so you can have peace of mind knowing that your file is in good hands.

Fill out our free online assessment and let us help you achieve your Canadian Immigration goals!

Free Assessment

Recent articles

Immigration Tips

What is the CELPIP Test for Canadian Immigration?

CELPIP stands for the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program and is an English test that allows test takers to demonstrate their ability to function […]

Canada Permanent Residence

How Soon Should You Move to Canada After Your PR is Approved?

If your overseas Express Entry permanent residence (PR) application has been approved, you will eventually need to move to Canada. Many new confirmed PRs choose […]

Canada Work Permit

Top In-Demand Jobs in Canada for 2022

The job vacancy rate in Canada was at an all-time high at the end of 2021. While various jobs are in-demand across Canada, several have […]

Canada Permanent Residence

How Does Canada Verify Work Experience for Immigration?

When applying for Canadian permanent residence, immigration officers may use several methods to verify your work experience history.


5 Ways to Stay in Canada After Your PGWP Expires

With FHS Express Entry draws paused indefinitely, many international graduates feel limited in their options to remain in Canada after their PGWP expires.

Study Permit

Do I Need a Permit to Study Online in Canada?

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed education across the globe; with online learning becoming the new norm, there has been some confusion surrounding whether a permit is required to study online in Canada.


Crimes That Will Make You Inadmissible to Canada

If you have a criminal record and are planning to come to Canada, it is important to understand the types of crimes that will make […]

Canada Permanent Residence

Top Four Best Provinces in Canada for New Immigrants

A question we are often asked is, “What is the best province in Canada for immigrants?” With Canada being the second-largest country in the world, […]

Study Permit

Can a Study Permit be Changed to a Work Permit in Canada?

Looking to change from a study permit to a work permit? The process will depend on where you are at in your program.

Canada Permanent Residence

Temporary Resident to Permanent Resident (TR to PR) Pathway (closed)

As of May 6, 2021, essential workers and international graduates currently working in Canada can apply for Canadian permanent residency under favourable new Immigration programs.

Canada Work Permit

Canada Launches New Open Work Permit for Hong Kong Residents

Starting February 8th 2021, eligible Hong Kong residents can apply for a 3 year Canadian open work permit, designed to give highly educated Hong Kong residents the opportunity to gain valuable Canadian work experience.

Canada Permanent Residence

Landing in Canada During COVID-19

In order to finish your application process for Canadian permanent residency, you need to land in Canada. As of June 21, 2021, applicants who have […]

Canada Permanent Residence

How to Immigrate to Canada From Nigeria

Nigerian immigration to Canada has become increasingly popular in recent years. In fact, Nigeria is one of the main source countries of Canada’s immigrant population; […]

Canada Permanent Residence

How to Immigrate to Canada From Lebanon

The Lebanese population in Canada is one of the fastest growing demographics. In 2001, there were nearly 144,000 Lebanese in Canada. According to the 2016 […]

Canada Permanent Residence

Best Ways to Immigrate to Canada From India in 2022

There are many options to immigrate to Canada from India. In fact, Indian nationals have the highest success rate when applying for Canadian immigration compared […]

Work in Canada

The Ultimate Guide to Finding a Job in Canada in 2022

Many foreign nationals look to Canada as a land of opportunity, hoping to secure a comfortable life for themselves and their families. One of the […]

International Students

Can you Study in Canada Without Taking the IELTS?

Most colleges and universities require international students to show they are comfortable working in English or French, but there are some exceptions. Hopeful international students […]

Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program

Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program (AIPP): How to find a job offer

Canada’s Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) has been growing in strides since its introduction in 2017, and has quickly become a promising option for those interested […]

International Students

PNP Immigration Options for International Students in 2022

If you want to come study in Canada as an international student, you might be wondering which province you should study in. Are there benefits to […]

Study Permit

5 Steps to Getting your Canadian Study Permit

Canada is becoming an increasingly popular destination for international students coming from all over the world. Before you can come to study in Canada, there are a few […]

Living in Canada

Best Places to Relocate in Canada From the US

Considering making the move across the border from the U.S. to Canada? You’re not alone. In 2021, close to 12,000 U.S. residents made the move […]

International Students

Studying in Canada vs the USA: Six Big Reasons to Choose Canada

Speedy processing times for study permits, top-quality educational institutions, and an open and welcoming society are just some of the factors that influence international students […]

Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

How to Get a Canadian Provincial Nomination Certificate

Provincial nomination certificates have become an increasingly popular way to immigrate to Canada. There are dozens of Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), each with its own […]

International Students | Study Permit

5 Reasons Canadian Study Permit Applications Get Refused

Studying in Canada is a dream come true for many international students. When you receive a letter of acceptance from a Canadian school, it might […]

Immigration Tips

How to Write a Reference Letter for Canadian Immigration

To be eligible for most Canadian economic immigration programs, you need to have some work experience. For many streams, that work experience needs to be […]

International Students

How to Bring Your Family With You While Studying in Canada

There are a lot of great benefits to being an international student in Canada, including the ability to bring family with you while you study.  […]

Work in Canada

How to Immigrate to Canada as a Tech Worker

Canada’s tech sector is booming and needs labour to sustain its growth; for this reason, the Canadian government offers ample immigration options for tech workers […]

Canada Permanent Residence

Immigrating to Canada as a Single Parent

If you are planning to immigrate to Canada as a single parent, there are few things you should know before you start the process.


Immigrating to Canada as a Recent Graduate

Canada’s low employment rate, high quality of life, and boundless opportunities make it a great country for new graduates. If you’ve just completed a foreign […]

Immigration Tips

What is an AOR in Canadian Immigration?

An Acknowledgment of Receipt (AOR) is an official document that confirms that Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has received your application. IRCC issues an AOR […]

Free assessment

Discover your Canadian immigration options. Get your free assessment now!