Refusal of visitor visa - when could that be appealed

Having your Canadian travel visa application rejected can be one of the most unfortunate and frustrating experiences of your entire life. Spoiled travel plans and the added hassle of having to reapply can put any vacation in severe jeopardy.

However, your dejection may not be as warranted as it may seem. There are various options open to those looking to challenge the immigration official’s decision and turn their case around.

What to do if your visitor visa is denied due to insufficient funds

If your temporary resident visa application was refused due to insufficient funds, applying again with identical evidence will not change this decision. The official handling your case has reason to believe you’ll exceed your authorized stay, which, in this case, means that the money you’ve declared on your application is not enough to cover the duration of your trip.

If you can gather new evidence of having access to more money to fund your trip, file a completely new application with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). If you believe that the IRCC officer made an incorrect decision when they denied your application and the amount you have declared is sufficient, an appeal to the court may be a viable option.

This type of appeal is made through Judicial Review in the Federal Court and is recommended to be done with the help of an immigration consultant. The aim here is to show that the IRCC officer handling your case either acted in opposition to the law, unjustly, or outside of their authority. An appeal for Judicial Review must be filed within 2 months of receiving your refusal.

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Appealing the refusal of a visitor visa in court

Refusals of visitor visas on financial grounds can be appealed to the Federal Court of Canada and the 2020 case of the Sangha family v. Canada is an example of how that could be done successfully.

Gurtej Singh Sangha is a citizen of India who applied for travel visas for himself and his wife and child. All three applications were denied by the IRCC because, as the case notes stated, the immigration officer was not convinced that the family would leave Canada at the conclusion of their stay due to insufficient funds.

Mr.Sangha has provided copious amounts of evidence to support his claim of having enough money to cover the entire trip:

  1. Proof of ownership of agricultural land in India.
  2. A letter verifying the applicant's yearly income from his dairy farming business.
  3. An accountant’s report affirming the family’s combined net worth of $235,437.
  4. A statement of the couple’s joint checking account showing a balance of $13,448.
  5. An additional accountant’s statement showing $13,775 in Mrs. Sangha’s savings account.
  6. A letter of financial support from Mr.Sangha’s extended family in Canada and a bank statement with a balance of over $28,000.

The evidence showed a combined amount of approximately $55,000 available to Mr.Sangha’s family. Despite all of this, the Officer concluded that the available funds were not sufficient to cover the family's 11-day vacation and that the entire trip was an unreasonable and unaffordable expense.

Mr.Sangha and his family did, however, specify that they had $3,500 to spend for the trip on each of the three applications. What they meant to say was that each member of the family would have $3,500 available to them to spend. The immigration officer handling their case declared that they were under the impression that $3,500 was all the family had to spare and disregarded all other evidence entirely.

The judge ultimately ruled the immigration officer's resolution to be unreasonable and ordered for the case to be sent for redetermination by a different decision-maker within the IRCC.

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