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Why Student Visa Application Could Be Refused


Canada is internationally recognized for several reasons: friendliness, sports, weather, a high standard of living, and much more. It’s also known for its world-class educational institutions, especially at the college and university level. For this reason, among a number of others, students from around the world dream of studying in Canada. With applications being sent in by the thousands, the Canadian government has no choice but to be extremely thorough when deciding who will or will not be granted a student visa.

A proactive approach to your student visa application can be the difference between your application being accepted or refused. Being well-researched is key. To help you put your best foot forward, we’ve put together a short list of reasons that may cause your study permit application to get refused. Avoid these common mistakes and you’ll be in a much better position to succeed than most of your competition.


Travelling can be expensive. Studying can be expensive. Travelling to study can be even more expensive. The Government of Canada is well aware of this, and you should be as well. If the visa official working your case isn’t convinced that you’ll be able to financially support yourself in Canada, you’ll likely be refused. There are many ways to lessen the financial burden of studying abroad, such as scholarships, tuition payment plans, sharing expenses with family or friends, and more.

However, you need to prove this to the IRCC (Immigration Refugees, Citizenship Canada). How does one prove they can afford to live and study in Canada? That’s easy, with show money.

Now don’t worry, show money is just that, money that you show. You don’t have to arrive in Canada with a briefcase full of cash. You simply need to show a statement to the IRCC proving that you have access to a certain amount of funds through financial statements and assets—the more the better.


A visa or permit by definition is temporary. Technically speaking, when your visa expires, you’ll be expected to leave the country. Many people who come to Canada on study permits arrive with intention of staying after their visa expires, but it’s up to you to convince your visa processing official that you will respect the valid permit of your permit.

However, this does not prevent you from applying for different types of visas and extensions to keep you in Canada.

The IRCC has actually created programs designed to keep international students in Canada for extended periods of time after their student visa, and even to gain permanent residence and citizenship. The simplest way to build a strong case to prove that you will return home if need be is to prove that you have something tying you to your home country. This means that your personal statement, or letter of intent, must be very convincing.


There are two types of students: those who want to further their studies in a field they’ve already studied, and those who want to study something entirely unrelated to what they’ve previously studied.

To minimize your risk of refusal, your program of study must make sense to the IRCC official reviewing your case. Students who are sticking to what they’ve previously studied have little to worry about, as long as the program isn’t redundant to what they’ve already studied.

Students who wish to change their field of study need to provide a good reason why. For example, your family owns a bakery, but you’ve completed a degree in accounting. It would be logical for you to pursue another accounting degree, but you could also go to culinary school to become a pastry chef. Once again, your reasoning should be clear and concise in your personal statement.

Immigration Tip: A compelling narrative in your letter of intent is one of the most important parts of your Canadian student visa application. Make sure you dedicate enough time here to accurately present your case or consult an expert for help.


There is a lot of documentation involved in a student visa application. First and foremost, all documents must be submitted in a timely fashion. Next, all documents can and will be verified by your IRCC visa official.

Unfortunately, there are a number of fake institutions that give out fake letters of admission to unsuspecting and hopeful students. If you knowingly or unknowingly submit any false documents, it goes without saying that your chances of approval will be slim to none. Be thorough in your verification as to whether or not you meet the requirements of the school you are applying to. Your school must be registered as a Canadian designated learning institution. It’s up to you to do your due diligence in properly researching schools. 

Immigration Tip: IRCC will only issue study permits to applicants with a letter of acceptance from a Designated Learning Institutions (DLI). If you have been accepted to a Canadian school, make sure that it is listed here.

Letters of admission aren’t the only documents that will be verified to prove their validity. This applies to all documents, more specifically, documents concerning your travel history, criminal background, medical history, and your identity.

Hundreds of thousands of applications are sent to Canadian officials on an annual basis. They are exceptionally good at finding documents that have been falsified. Provide as many documents and explanations as possible to account for any information that may not be clear or easy to understand as it pertains to your paperwork.


The fact of the matter is not everyone will do everything right on their applications. And inevitably, applications will get refused. But if your application is refused, don’t lose hope. You still have options.

First, you can simply appeal the refusal, this means you’re essentially contesting the refusal.

Next, you can re-apply after having corrected any errors that were present in your initial application. Refusals typically come with notes from the case manager. It’s wise to review the notes to see where you can improve with your next application.

Last but not least, you can try applying for a different program.

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