I have provided the immigration officer with my travel itinerary stating the place I would visiting in Canada but still I'm getting a visa refusal:

I'm not satisfied that you will leave Canada based on your purpose of visit.

What does the officer mean? Should I pay for my travel ticket while my visa is not ready yet?

  • 43
    The meaning of what they say is literal. They are not convinced that you will leave Canada. They assume you want to stay and violate the terms of your visa. With the information you have provided, we can’t really assess anything beyond that, but also note that you might have to get the help of a lawyer at this stage. Also, DO NOT TRY TO SHOW UP AT IMMIGRATION ANYWAY, THAT WILL GO BAD!
    – Jan
    Apr 15 at 12:29
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    "should I pay for my travel ticket while my visa is not ready yet": no. This won't help at all and will only lead to your losing money.
    – phoog
    Apr 15 at 13:39
  • 28
    There might be a language problem here, maybe OP interprets it as "I'm not satisfied with the fact that you will leave Canada", which has the opposite meaning of what was meant.
    – user132647
    Apr 16 at 5:54
  • 29
    @user132647: Indeed — it’s important to know that “satisfied” here has the legal meaning of “sufficiently convinced”, not the more common everyday meaning of “happy”. Given that, it means literally what it says — but that’s an important ambiguity that I think can be confusing even for many native speakers.
    – PLL
    Apr 16 at 9:56
  • 6
    @Auspex two things: first, we're at the visa application stage. This traveler is not going to be able to board an airplane without getting a visa first, much less "show up" at the border. To get a visa, it's necessary to convince the visa officer that the traveler plans to leave Canada, which brings us to the second point: visa officers know that having a return ticket doesn't imply that the traveler will use it; maybe the traveler is just willing to spend an extra few hundred dollars to look like a legitimate tourist. Also, they can recognize the refundable fare code.
    – phoog
    Apr 16 at 21:34

3 Answers 3


It means exactly what it says. You applied for a visa and basically said "I want to come to Canada for this reason and then I will go home after this much time" and they said "no, we don't think you will, so you can't have the visa."

Understand, this is not "my visa is not ready yet." This is "I do not have a visa." What's more, you are not likely to get one. Whatever led them to conclude you weren't telling the truth will probably continue to do so if you just applied again.

If you just wanted to come look at the scenery and be a tourist, it might be best to postpone that plan until you have stronger ties to your home country or otherwise can convince immigration you really only want to visit. If you had another reason for coming, you should probably get some legal help to see how to make it happen. Immigration lawyers can often guess what the specific issue is that was a problem on your application, and advise you if it's something that can be corrected.

  • 1
    Pleasantly surprised to see you here, @KateGregory. And good advice. I have been to Canada without even needing a Visum, but still required eTA document from embassy, an immigration letter from the company I was visiting and we still got picked out for interview + luggage check. Canada customs do not play around.
    – sehe
    Apr 18 at 9:38
  • 1
    @sehe Not helpful, but I have found Canadian customs much friendlier than the 20+ other countries I've travelled to across many continents! Apr 18 at 15:31
  • 1
    @ChrisFletcher Friendly doesn't mean "fuck laws". They can be strict and friendly.
    – CodePanda
    Apr 18 at 19:08

The purpose of your visit is not your itinerary, but the reason you want to come to Canada.

Basically, for visitor visas (tourism or business visas, mostly), they want to be sure you come for the purpose stated (tourism or business), not for other reasons (to enter Canada to then stay, live and work there — there are other visas for that, with other conditions — or even worse, to stay and live in Canada and then rely on public funds or illegal activities).

There are quite a few factors which they can take into account to determine this:

  • Statistics on previous visitors: if visitors from a given country are more likely to overstay, there will be a higher scrutiny for other applicants for the same country.
  • Whether the cost of your trip is proportionate to your revenue and/or wealth: if you earn 100 dollars a month and plan a trip costing $1000 for holidays, they are very likely to find that very suspicious.
  • Your economic situation at home: if you have no job or a job that, by Canadian standards, pays very little, you have a strong incentive to try to stay in Canada and earn a living even covertly.
  • Any ties you may have in Canada: if you have a partner, family or other relatives in Canada it makes it more likely you will try to overstay.
  • Discrepancies between your statements and reality: if you state you are going to spend $5 per day for lodging and food in Canada as a tourist, they are not going to believe it.
  • And many many more reasons.

Some cases are quite obvious and call no discussion. In many other cases, it’s the overall balance of points for and against which will result in the decision.

You haven’t told us anything about your application (the stated purpose, duration, cost, whether you have a sponsor, who they are, your citizenship, your current situation, your travel history, the documentation you provided…), or any details of the refusal, so we can’t tell you more. It might be a simple error which can be easily addressed, or it could be a fundamental issue in your situation or application which makes it extremely unlikely you will ever get that visa unless your situation changes dramatically.

But remember, a visa is not a right. It’s like applying for a job or for a top university: you have to convince them that letting you in is good for them.

The factor which probably has the biggest importance is your economic situation. People with a stable well-paid job (by Canadian standards) are a lot less likely to undergo a higher level of scrutiny.

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    That second last bullet ("Discrepancies…") is more important than one would think. They really want to know you have planned your expenses. If you are counting on living cheaply because you intend to stay with family, that is a huge red flag.
    – Auspex
    Apr 16 at 11:56
  • 2
    @Auspex why is that a red flag? If I had family in Canada (or any nice foreign country), I'd probably go visit them and stay with them at least once. That seems like a normal and reasonable thing to do.
    – Kat
    Apr 17 at 3:27
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    @Kat The red flag is that you now have access to people that will willingly assist in your illegal overstay. You must then provide significantly more assurance that you will return to your home, e.g.) mortgages, family, job, assets, etc. If you're a tourist visiting a place with no family, the likelihood of you staying there successfully without detection drops significantly, because when you run out of food, you will end up in government-controlled facilities (police, hospital, homeless shelter, etc.), they'll know you overstayed, and then pick you up from there.
    – Nelson
    Apr 17 at 5:20
  • As a comparison. I'm a Canadian citizen. I have family there. When I go back to visit, I spend WAY more than $5 a meal. I can, but I'm on vacation. I'm not going to have bread and water for my meals. Why would I do that? I'm going to visit all the restaurants that I used to go to and eat all the stuff I couldn't otherwise get. Despite having family there, my budget for visits there is significant, plus I have empty suitcases to bring tons of stuff back.
    – Nelson
    Apr 17 at 5:22
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    @Kat It's also a red flag if you're reliant on living so cheaply, because if something goes wrong--like some disagreement with your relatives, they no longer want to support you--then you could end up working illegally, requiring public assistance, etc. If you only prefer to save money by living cheaply but you could fall back on living for a more normal cost if you had to then it's less of a problem. Apr 17 at 15:06

I think that the main factor here is an absence of convincing documentation about your economic/social obligations in your home country and any consequent (de-)motivation to leave Canada on (or before) the stated return date.

When I was a college student and applied for a US visa (summer tourist) I had to attach a signed formal letter from my HoD stating my obligation to return by late September for that fall's term.

Maybe you could so something likewise, e.g. a letter from your college tutor or employer.

Also find all the documentation you can on Canada's visa criteria from official and unofficial (e.g. travel sites, emigration consultants, etc) sources.

Play it straight and wait your turn when dealing with Canadian officials and they'll come through for you - in "due course", naturally.

  • 8
    What, other than House of Detention, does "HoD" mean?
    – RonJohn
    Apr 16 at 2:38
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    Head of Department?
    – Nayuki
    Apr 16 at 2:56

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