What to Do if Your Canadian Student Visa Gets Rejected

canadian student visa rejected

Canada is a popular destination for international students with some of the highest-ranked universities in the world, such as the University of Toronto, McGill University or the University of British Columbia, welcoming students from all over the globe on student visas, which allow them to stay in Canada for their studies.

In 2023, there were around 900,000 international students in Canada, with nearly 600,000 new student visas issued that year, showing the significance of this visa for immigration purposes. Approximately one-third of all student visa applications are rejected by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) every year.

If your application is rejected, you can reapply but there are some critical steps you have to take before reapplying to increase your chances for approval to study in Canada.

Understanding the Reasons for Canada Study Visa Rejection

It is critical to understand why your application has been rejected, as this will give you a starting point for your path to reapplication.

Common rejection reasons are:

  • Insufficient finances
  • Weak links to your home country (a student visa implies that you return to your home country after your studies are finished)
  • Missing or incomplete documents
  • Failure to meet health, security or criminal admissibility standards
  • Lacking language proficiency

A visa refusal will come with a letter explaining the reasons for the refusal.

There also is a visa return, which indicates that some parts of your application or supporting documents were incomplete or missing.

Immediate Steps to Take After a Rejection

Your first step after receiving a visa rejection is to identify the exact reasons why your application has been refused because only then can you take measures to correct the errors. 

The reasons include:

  • Your reason for visiting Canada isn’t to study
  • You have limited employment prospects in your home country
  • Your current employment situation is unstable
  • You don’t possess enough assets in your home country
  • You lack strong family ties in your home country
  • You have temporary immigration status in your current country
  • You don’t have a strong travel history
  • You failed to provide enough educational documents
  • You don’t have enough funds to pursue higher education in Canada
  • You demonstrated that you intend to work and settle in Canada after completing your studies
  • You included a poorly structured cover letter with your application

If you don’t understand why your application was rejected or require more information, you can order your Global Case Management System (GCMS) notes to learn more. 

To obtain a GCMS note, you must file an Access to Information and Privacy request (ATIP) with IRCC, either online or by mail

You will require your application number, and to facilitate faster processing, you should also input your Unique Client Identifier (UCI).

Improving Your Application for Reapplication

Understanding the reasons for a Canada study visa rejection will allow you to focus on these areas to improve your application and thus increase your chances of acceptance. For example, if a lack of language proficiency is the reason, you can take language courses to improve your knowledge of English or French, depending on where you intend to study in Canada.

A weak Statement of Purpose (SOP) is often an issue. A strong SOP states your objectives and ambitions to help the admission committee understand your prospects better and make you stand out among other applicants. Your SOP must thoroughly explain why you chose to study in Canada, your academic overview, your plans after completing the course, and the reason for selecting the desired course and university.

If the issue has been a lack of proof of financial support, you can provide more substantial proof that you have the required funds for your studies. Another vital factor is showing strong ties to your home country. If you cannot give the immigration officer sufficient reason that you will return to your home country after the expiration of your visa, they may reject your application. You must prove strong ties, such as family, property, or a job.

Exploring Alternative Options

If reapplication is not feasible in your case, you may be able to explore other visa categories or programs.

You can apply for a visitor visa, allowing you to travel to and within Canada temporarily. You can use this time to explore educational and other opportunities in the country.

Many Canadian universities also offer online courses and programs that can be accessed and completed anywhere worldwide. This flexible and cost-effective alternative to traditional classroom-based learning can be attractive.

Seek professional help from a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (RCIC) like Malkus Immigration Consulting to learn more about which options are open to you.

The Appeal Process

If you feel that IRCC unfairly refused your student visa application, you can get your application reevaluated. However, any appeals must be filed in a federal court, a lengthy process most students are unwilling to go through. Additionally, the success rate of the appeal process is relatively low, so unless it is a special case, it might not be worth pursuing.


Getting your student visa application rejected can be harsh, but it is not the end of the world. There are options available, from reapplying to exploring other pathways. Understanding why your application has been rejected is critical so you can actively work toward correcting the mistakes or supplying more and better information to increase your chances for a successful reapplication.

Whether unsure about what to do after a rejection or want to know more about other available options, Malkus Immigration Consulting can help you with every step of the Canadian Immigration process, from establishing your eligibility for each pathway, including checking for potential express entry, to the documentation and legal process. 

Malkus Immigration Consulting is an immigration consultant in Edmonton, bringing knowledge, experience and passion to our work to provide the best Immigration consulting services. With many years of experience interacting with government officials, we can submit applications to Canadian Immigration authorities on behalf of our clients.

Contact us today at (587) 415-6932 or through our convenient online form to learn how we can help you become a permanent resident of Canada!

About the author