Mon | May 21, 2018

Can't see why I was refused a visa

Published:Tuesday | January 25, 2011 | 12:00 AM

Dear Ms Ffolkes Abrahams,

I recently applied for a temporary resident visa at the Canadian embassy and my application was refused based on reasons that have nothing to do with my case.

They listed four reasons, or factors, why they refused me:

1) My travel history

From the day I was born, I have never left Jamaica. I have no travel history so I really do not know what they are talking about.

2) Purpose of visit

I chose the tourism option so I don't see why that should be a reason to turn me down.

3) My current employment situation

I have been working with a security company for the last six years now. So, I would not consider that my line of work would contribute a refusal of my application.

4) Your personal assets and financial status

Well, I consider my five kids and the $313,000 that I now have in my bank account an asset. So, I really don't know. I'm thinking they must be mistaking me for someone else, or they made a mistake in the assessment of my application.

I have a good amount of money in the bank and no reason to leave my children. I love them so much. They are my life.

I heard a lot about Canada and would love to see the beauty of the place, especially now, during the winter season. I would like to see the snow and perhaps to take my children there on vacation one day.

Please tell me where I went wrong and what should be the next step to take. I eagerly await your reply.

Mother of Five.

Dear Mother of Five,

I am sorry to hear you were refused. But, perhaps, you can re-apply. The reasons given appear to be brief. However, the main criteria for offering you a visa would be whether it appears to the immigration authorities that you would return to Jamaica at the end of your visit.

You did not mention that you had an invitation letter from a friend or relative. No doubt such a letter could be of some assistance to you. If you know someone who would be willing to write and invite you by letter, notarised by a notary public in Canada, may increase your chances.

Your friend or relative should indicate that they will be responsible for your accommodation while you are visiting Canada. They should indicate the dates you are being invited and when you will leave Canada. The letter must also indicate your name, date of birth, address and telephone number, their relationship to you and the purpose of your trip. Your friend or relative must also state their name, date of birth, address, telephone number and occupation. They must indicate their status in Canada as a permanent resident or citizen and include a photocopy of a document proving that status.

Be more specific

Winter is indeed very beautiful but also very cold. You will need to have winter attire. Perhaps visiting in the summer may be a better time to start.There are many attractions in summer. It would be good for you to be specific about which attractions you would like to see. It appears you may have been vague in your application as you have stated that you wrote 'tourism option', which does not give much detail about why you would like to visit Canada.

It is good that you have had steady employment and some money in the bank, as you must show that you will return to Jamaica at the end of your visit, as well as sufficient funds to maintain yourself while on your visit. A letter of invitation helps with this aspect as well. You could also provide a letter from your employer, indicating the length of your employment with them and when they expect you back at work. In addition, you need to have a valid passport.

I hope that this will assist you, as you must provide additional or new information in order for the immigration authorities to change their initial decision. If you are turned down again, your host could, under certain circumstances, seek judicial review of the decision from the Federal Court in Canada. However, in order to do this, you would need to seek legal assistance from a lawyer in Canada.

Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams is a barrister/solicitor of bars in Jamaica and Ontario, Canada. She is president of the Jamaican Diaspora Canada Foundation and former counsel at the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Email: