Hey there. You’re visiting our new site. Click here to go back to the previous version of our website.

Canada’s visitor visa refusal rate is on the rise

According to a new report, Canada’s refusal rate for visitors is on the rise. Would-be visitors from certain countries who want to come to Canada temporarily as tourists, or to attend academic events and conferences, are being refused as many politicians call for change to the system.

Free Assessment

Who is being refused?

In 2017, nearly 600,000 people were refused visitor visas for short stays in Canada. Generally, these stays allow visitors to travel to Canada temporarily for tourism, business, school, conferences, or to visit their families and friends. The number of refusals totals more than 25% of all visitor visa applications received in 2017.

While Canada assesses all applications using the same criteria, some of the factors considered are an applicant’s country of residence and country of citizenship. Applicants from countries with less political and economic security risk a much higher chance of refusal. In fact, many African and Middle Eastern countries face a refusal rate of more than 75% of visitor visa applications.

The implications of these refusal rates can be seen in conferences where speakers and presenters are unable to attend, as well as in families who are unable to connect and visit in Canada. With refusal rates topping 30% in the first quarter of 2018, Canadian immigration officials are feeling pressure to redefine the system of visitor visa applications to create a fairer set of conditions.

How does a person get refused?

One of the most common reasons for refusal of a visitor visa is that an applicant fails to convince the immigration officer that they intend to exit Canada at the end of their period of stay. If an immigration officer has reason to believe that an applicant may overstay in Canada, past the expiry of the visa, then the visa application will most likely be refused.

When preparing a visitor visa application, applicants should be sure to include evidence that they have already purchased return travel, or that they have access to the funds for such travel. As well, if an applicant is unable to demonstrate they will be able to afford their stay in Canada their application also runs a significant chance of refusal.

As mentioned above, Canada does consider a person’s countries of citizenship and residence when assessing an application. While these may be impossible to change, applicants from countries with higher rates of refusals should ensure the rest of their application is as complete as possible.

Will Canada change its policies?

The findings from the recent report have put a lot of pressure on the Canadian government to change the ways in which visitor visas are refused. The current refusal rates greatly impact Canadian tourism by preventing more than half a million visitors from entering Canada annually.

The frequency of visitor visa refusals impacts a range of industries. Canadian academic conferences are often unable to bring scholars from certain African and Middle Eastern countries. Even international business conferences report a high number of absences, oftentimes negatively affecting Canadian economic development.

Only time will tell how Canada will address the problem. Visitor visas are one of the most commonly requested types of status in Canada, so any alteration to the system could have huge impacts on immigration processing. However, with Canada’s failure to keep up with the policies of its friends and neighbours, an overhaul of visitor visa processing may be necessary.

Find out if you are eligible to immigrate to Canada by completing our free assessment. A member of the Canadim team will review your eligibility and contact you to discuss your options!

Get Started


The Canadim Team!


Recent articles

Canada Permanent Residence | Canadian immigration 2019 | Living in Canada

Immigration and Election Year in Canada: what could change and what you need to know

2019 is Election year in Canada, meaning in just a matter of months the country will be voting on whether the Federal Liberal Party, under […]

Canada Permanent Residence | Canadian immigration 2019 | Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)

Federal Government Announces Additional 2,000 Spaces being Allocated to PNP’s

Canada’s Minister for Immigration announced Tuesday that the Federal Government will be adding 2,000 spaces to be filled by applicants under the Provincial Nominee Program […]

Canada Permanent Residence | Canadian immigration 2019 | Newcomers to Canada

Canadian City Spotlight: Hamilton, Ontario

Canada is a big place! The country covers vast and varied landscapes, from mountain ranges, to Great Lakes, from forests to deserts (yes really!), and […]

Canada Permanent Residence | Canadian immigration 2019 | Immigration Fraud

March is Canada’s 15th Annual Fraud Prevention Month

Although we wish it weren’t the case, immigration fraud is a reality for many around the world. The good news is that the more you […]

Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program

Atlantic Immigration Pilot: How to find a job offer

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

Canada Permanent Residence | Canadian immigration 2019 | Express Entry | Work in Canada

H-1B Permit Holders: Options for Spouses who want to work

America’s H-1B visa category has long been sought after by workers around the world. For many, the H-1B represents a ticket to American work experience, […]

Free assessment

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