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Canada Student Visa Rejection: Reasons, Appeal Against Refusal, Reapplying

Bhavya Rawal Bhavya Rawal
Study Abroad Expert

International students who wish to study in Canada are required to have a study permit and an entry visa. The process of applying for and obtaining a student visa/study permit follows post admission in a DLI (Designated Learning Institute). According to IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, Citizens Canada), the number of international students holding a Canadian student visa was 572,415 as on 31 December 2018. This number marks an increase of 16.25% from the previous year.

With an increase in the number of applications received by CIC for the issue of a study permit, a sudden rise in the rejection of the Canadian student visa has also been observed. According to information from IRCC, it is reported that around 30% of total study permit applications are rejected on an average basis in a year.

  • An increase in fraudulent cases has resulted in stricter laws of approval of Canadain student visa.
  • Around 10% dubious cases are registered between Feb 2018 to November 2018.
  • An increase in the rate of rejection is observed from 2012 to 2018.

For the initial five months of 2019, a steep rise in the Canadian student visa rejection rate has been observed. Of every 10 students, 4 study permit applications have been rejected (2019) accounting for around 39% of the total applications. This article includes the reasons for rejection of a Candian student visa, how to address the reasons for which the application is rejected, and appeal against refusal.

Rejection Rate vs. Applicant Type

Graph: The graph represents the rate of rejection for the applicants of Candian Study Permit

Reasons for Rejection for Canadian Student Visa

International students seeking a Canadian student visa fulfilling all the minimum criteria for admissions are usually optimistic towards the decision. It is, however, observed that a study permit may be refused even when the applicant fulfills academic and admission requirements for an institution. Some of the popular reasons for rejection of study visa by IRCC are listed below:

Financial Insufficiency

Proof of adequate funds for the first year of the course/program is the minimum requirement for studying in Canada. However, a study visa application may be rejected if the immigration officer suspects financial insufficiency.

Applicants can address this problem by ensuring that they do not merely focus on the minimum fund required. Proof of adequate finances for more than one year, along with the additional documents supporting the finances can be included along with the application.

For details on the basic cost of living in Canada, click here.

Choice of Program

If the visa officer questions the choice of a program opted by the applicants, the visa may be rejected. In cases where the chosen program does not align with the applicant’s academic or employment background, the chances of visa rejection are increased.

Applicants can address this problem by including a detailed personal statement for the choice of program, in case it does not align with previous education or work experience. For applicants whose choice aligns with the previous background, a detailed education history or work history can be attached along with the applications.

Letter of Acceptance

A letter of acceptance from a Canadian DLI is required for applying for the study permit. If the applicant’s acceptance letter is in question, the study permit may be rejected. Along with the letter of acceptance, the applicants are required to meet the minimum entry requirements for the specific institution. If the visa officer doubts whether the minimum requirements are met by the applicant, the study permit may be rejected.

Applicants can address this problem by ensuring that the institute they receive an acceptance letter from is registered. Applicants must also ensure that the documents attached as proof of minimum requirements are sufficient. Additional supporting documents can also be attached.

English Language Proficiency

Non-native English speaking international students are required to submit proof of language proficiency. Applicants are required to meet the minimum standardized English language test scores (TOEFL/IELTS) when applying through SDS or SPP program. Even if the applicant has the minimum score meeting the DLI ELP requirements, failing to meet the program requirements may result in the rejection of a student visa for Canada.

Applicants must ensure that the minimum score requirements for the specific program are met to ensure that the study permit is not denied. Know more regarding the standardized language test scores and requirements for studying in Canada.

Incomplete Travel or Identity Documents

In cases where there are too many blank spaces in the travel history with a lack of proof of supporting evidence to cover those periods, the study permit may be rejected. If the identity documents are incomplete or are not easy to read, the chances of Canadian student visa rejection are accelerated.

Applicants must ensure that the travel history is justified with sufficient evidence and documents. The identity documents provided must be clear and easily readable for ensuring that the visa is not rejected because of the above-mentioned reason.

Intent of Return to Home Country

As the study permit is a temporary visa, it has a validity period. The applicants are required to submit enough proof of intent to return to the home country. This does not suggest that the applicant cannot extend their study visa or obtain a PR. It is mandatory to provide documents suggesting the intent of return to ensure that the applicant will not stay in Canada after the expiration of the study permit.

Applicants can address this concern with a detailed personal statement. Applicants must also understand the dual intent concept when addressing the concern in their personal statement. Dual intent accounts for the applicants who initially want to temporarily visit Canada (on a study or work visa) and intend to become permanent residents of the country.

Lack of Job Prospects in Home Country

The lack of job prospects in the home country is an indication of the intent to return to the home country. Applicants who do not have a job offer in the home country or lack job prospects may conclude the applicants intend to settle in Canada. This may result in rejection of the Canadian student visa.

Applicants can provide documents and statements suggesting that there are sufficient employment aspects in their home country after completion of the studies in Canada.

Valuable Tips to Decrease the Chances of Candian Visa Rejection

Now, that some of the common reasons for visa refusal are known, here are a few valuable tips to avoid refusal of student visa in the first place.

  • Make a checklist of mandatory documents required to submit in order to obtain a study visa. A listing of the same is given on the official website of the Government of Canada.
  • Carefully and completely fill the visa form. Make sure that no column blank is left blank.
  • Students also have to upload a copy of the offer letter that they have received from a recognized college or university in Canada.
  • If applying under SPP, the applicant must be able to show proof of finances, it is advised to obtain a Guaranteed Investment Certificate by transferring CAD $10, 200 to Scotia Bank. Indian students can also get GIC from ICICI Bank.
  • If the applicant has work experience, salary slips or bank statements are to be submitted as proof of the same.
  • Mention all travel histories and visa rejections (if any) in the visa file.
  • Answer all the questions asked on the CIC website while applying online.
  • The statement of intent is the most important write up which will introduce the applicant to the visa officer. Mention the academic achievements and the intent to study in Canada. This statement of intent can break or make the file.

What to do if Student Visa is Rejected?

Applicants whose study permit for Canada is rejected can appeal against the refusal. The are three ways for proceeding with appealing against the visa refusal. These are requesting reevaluation, appealing against the decision in federal court, and submission of a new application. 

If the applicant is applying for a Canadian student visa for the first time, it is advised to take help from a well-experienced visa counselor. Professional visa counselors can help in editing the statement of intent and create a strong profile.

International applicants who apply for the study permit must ensure that their documents, IELTS/TOEFL scores, and other requirements are met. In case of rejection of Candian Student Visa, though filing a judicial appeal is an impartial assessment but it is a cumbersome process. Students prefer filing a new application for the study permit.

In case the visa is approved, the applicant can go through the details on the interview process and tips, click here.
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