Reconsideration Request

Understanding Reconsideration Requests in Immigration: A Step by Step Guide and Examples - from a lawyer's perspective.

What is a reconsideration request?

A reconsideration, in the context of immigration, is a request submitted to a visa officer to review and reconsider a previously rejected immigration application. A reconsideration request will usually explain why an immigration officer made a mistake, and ask them to reconsider it. See our examples below!

Individuals may choose to pursue a reconsideration if they believe that an error or misunderstanding led to the initial refusal. Reconsideration requests can be made for all immigration applications, including a visitor visas, study permits, and work permits, and even permanent residency like Express Entry.

One notable advantage of a reconsideration request is that it doesn't involve specific forms or fees, making it a relatively straightforward and cost-effective option compared to other legal avenues. It's important to note that visa officers hold a significant degree of discretion when assessing reconsideration requests, and in most cases, the likelihood of success remains relatively low.

However, if your request for reconsideration is accepted, it could result in the approval of your immigration application, making it a valuable option to explore.

Reconsideration is just one of several legal options available to address a refusal. You could file for a judicial review (which is similar to an appeal, but not technically), reapply or change immigration programs. In this blog, I canvass all options when faced with a refusal.

Is there a deadline to submit a reconsideration request?

There is no strict deadline for submitting a request for reconsideration, but it should be done in a timely manner.

How long does it take for a reconsideration request to be processed?

The processing times for reconsideration requests can vary. For example, it could take a few weeks to a few months. It really depends on the visa office and the immigration officer.

How to file a reconsideration request – step by step guide

If you're considering preparing your own reconsideration request for an immigration application, here's a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process effectively. If you are unsure how to proceed or want to discuss how to prepare a reconsideration request, book a consultation with Cédric Marin, an immigration lawyer that has successfully submitted dozens of reconsideration request:

Step 1: Organize Your Documents

Begin by gathering and organizing all the documents you originally submitted to the visa office. This step is crucial because it allows you to gain a clear understanding of what information was initially provided to the visa officer. If a representative assisted in preparing these documents on your behalf, be sure to request copies from them. If you are missing documents, you may want to make an Access to Information Request to ask for these documents from IRCC.

Step 2: Consider Requesting Visa Officer Notes

Next, consider whether it's advisable to request the notes made by the visa officer through an ATIP (Access to Information and Privacy) request. Even if you have you have all your documents, these notes may contain valuable insights into why your application was initially refused.

However, it's important to note that in some cases, the notes provided by the visa officer may be limited and not offer substantial additional information.

One important consideration when deciding to request visa officer notes is the potential delay in receiving them. By law, they need to provide it within 30 days. However, they are taking anywhere from 30 to 90 days to obtain these notes, which could impact the timing of your reconsideration request. In situations where time is of the essence, it may be necessary to proceed with the reconsideration request without waiting for the visa notes due to potential delays. For example, if you want to apply for judicial review for a decision within Canada, you will have 15 days to file for judicial review or if you need to apply for restoration, you will have 90 days. You may consider pursuing more than one option at the same time, such as a judicial review, reconsideration and applying to restore your status – all the same time.

By following these steps, you can methodically prepare your reconsideration request, addressing potential errors and seeking additional information to bolster your case. Remember that seeking guidance from an immigration lawyer can be invaluable throughout this process to ensure the best possible outcome for your application.

Step 3: Draft your reconsideration request

1. Clearly State Your Desired Outcome

Begin your request by clearly stating your desired outcome. The visa officer should quickly understand why you are writing to them, and what you seek from the reconsideration. For example, you can start with a statement like, "I am requesting a reconsideration of my visitor visa application with the goal of having it reopened and approved for the following reasons:"

2. Identify and Address Factual Errors

Examine your previous immigration application and refusal letter carefully to identify any factual errors made by the visa officer. If you find any discrepancies, provide clear and compelling evidence to support your case. For instance, if the visa notes incorrectly state your nationality, highlight this error. Similarly, if the refusal letter cites a lack of income requirement for dependents you do not have, explain the error and point to evidence provided in the application. IRCC will generally not consider new evidence in a reconsideration request.

3. Highlight and Address Legal Errors

Identify and discuss any potential legal errors made by the visa officer. Review the legal requirements you needed to fulfill for your application and consult with an immigration lawyer if necessary to identify any legal inaccuracies. For example, if your application was refused due to a supposed failure to provide a police certificate when it was not a legal requirement based on your situation, clearly explain this discrepancy and provide evidence to support your claim.

As noted above, you can request your application, supporting documents and the immigration officer’s notes through an Access to Information Request. Your own request might show that you provided a police certificate or other documents! Then, you can use this in the reconsideration request and argue that all documents were provided.

4. Present Additional Evidence or New Information

If new facts have emerged since your initial application, consider presenting this information in your request. Explain how these new developments are relevant to your case and why they warrant a reconsideration. However, bear in mind that in some cases, it may be more appropriate to submit a new application with new evidence.

5. Address Compelling Reasons

If there were compelling reasons beyond your control that contributed to the refusal, such as the death of a close family member, third-party delays, or natural disasters, provide documentation to support your claims. Explain how these exceptional circumstances impacted your immigration application. Note that reasons within your control, such as form omissions or misread questions, may not be accepted as valid.

6. Maintain a Courteous Tone

It's essential to maintain a polite and respectful tone throughout your reconsideration request. Remember that the visa officer will review your request and decide whether to reopen your file. A well-written and courteous request can increase the likelihood of a favorable decision.

Step 4: Submission of the Reconsideration Request

Submit your reconsideration request via email or the webform. There are no associated fees. Keep in mind that the majority of reconsideration requests do not result in file reopening. If your file is reopened, the visa officer will assess whether to approve your immigration application or uphold the refusal.

Expect that you may not receive an acknowledgment of receipt when you submit your reconsideration request. Visa officers typically do not acknowledge receipt. Consequently, you might not receive a reply or acknowledgment after submitting a reconsideration request. You should check the status of your IRCC account, since the application might change to “Processing” without an formal notification or email.

It's important to note that reconsideration will only be accepted when circumstances justify it. Therefore, it's not advisable to automatically submit a reconsideration request upon receiving a rejection. Consulting with an immigration lawyer can be invaluable in identifying errors and advocating for the reconsideration and acceptance of your application.

How do you submit a reconsideration request?

You can submit it by webform or by contacting the IRCC office by email, if they included an email in your correspondence.

Is there a fee to submit a reconsideration request?

No, there is no fee.

Why work with Cédric?

Cédric Marin, a Canadian Immigration Lawyer fluent in both English and French, offers assistance to applicants seeking reconsideration requests. He has successfully drafted dozens of reconsideration requests. With five years of experience in immigration and refugee law, including roles at the Federal Court of Canada and the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Cédric brings a grasp of immigration procedures, decision-making and legal intricacies. He is an active membership in professional organizations like the Canadian Immigration Lawyer Association (CILA) and the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), Cédric is well-qualified to provide guidance and support to individuals navigating immigration reconsideration. Speak with Cédric and explore your options for a reconsideration request.


Example of a reconsideration request for a refused permanent residence application

Please accept this letter as a request for reconsideration of the permanent residence application (E0026321212) for the Applicant, John Doe, born on January 15, 1985, and UCI 1234-8765.


In short, the Applicant applied for permanent residence under the TR to PR program. He included a valid language result through IELTS when he applied.

However, the Applicant received a procedural fairness letter indicating that he did not provide a valid language exam since the exam must be less than two years old when the permanent residence application is received. This is incorrect.

The Applicant provided a valid language exam that he completed a few days before applying for permanent residency. This is confirmed on his PR portal application. He would not have been able to submit his PR application without uploading a copy of his IELTS results.

The Applicant does not have a copy of the IELTS results that were submitted since he has since changed computers and he did not keep a copy.

The Applicant contacted IELTS, but they did not have a copy since it has been more than two years since the date of the exam and copies are only available within these two years.

The Applicant tried to download a copy from IRCC PR Portal, but the online portal for TR to PR does not allow individuals to.

Procedural fairness and reply

The Applicant misread the procedural fairness letter and believed that he needed a new language exam. As such, he submitted a new language exam in reply to the procedural fairness letter by mistake.

However, the Applicant should have never received the procedural fairness letter since he provided a valid language exam with his original application.


We are kindly asking you to (1) accept the reconsideration and reopen the application, (2) review the original language exam provided in the TR to PR application, and (3) grant this application.

This letter contains important supporting documents:

TR to PR portal: IELTS provided

PFL dated April 11, 2021

Email to IELTS regarding language results

Example of a reconsideration request for a PGWP application

Ms. Anderson applied for the 18-month Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) extension. She made an application for an open work permit and to restore her status. She was rejected since she applied to restore her status more than 90 days after the expiry of her temporary resident status. However, she was exempted from this requirement due to the temporary public policy.

I am making a request for the reconsideration of the decision to reopen the application and continue processing.

The temporary public policy allows for restoration after 90 days have passed.

On April 15, 2022, Ms. Anderson's work permit expired. She remained in Canada since she believed that she was on implied status from a previous application in 2021.

On July 28, 2022, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration issued a new temporary public policy  extending PGWPs that expired between September 20, 2021, and December 31, 2022.: Temporary public policy to facilitate the issuance of an open work permit to certain former or current post-graduation work permit holders (“2022 temporary public policy for PGWP holders”). This was announced  by IRCC on August 2, 2022.

Ms. Anderson applied for a PGWP extension on August 27, 2022, under the 2022 temporary public policy for PGWP holders.

Part 3 of the temporary public policy indicates that an Applicant is eligible for the policy even if their status expired more than 90 days before applying:

"[...] ii. had temporary resident status which expired more than 90 days before their application for a work permit referred to in (iv) was submitted; [...]"

The temporary public policy exempts applicants from this requirement:

"Provisions of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations for which an exemption may be granted: [...] To foreign nationals who meet the requirements of Part 3, above: [...] • The requirement in subsection 182(1) of the Regulations for a visitor, worker, or student to make an application to restore temporary resident status within 90 days after losing their temporary resident status."

The same temporary public policy exempts applications from not being issued a work permit since they have engaged in unauthorized work under paragraph 200(3)(e) of the Regulations.

IRCC's own instructions guide to applying for the PGWP extension provides details on how to apply for the extension if their status expired more than 90 days ago.

The immigration officer erred by failing to apply the temporary public policy.

With all due respect, I submit that the immigration officer failed to apply the temporary public policy.

The reasons for the rejection indicate that an application for restoration must be made within 90 days after the loss of temporary resident status. However, this fails to consider the temporary public policy. As noted above, part 3 of the temporary public policy specifically allows applicants to apply even if 90 days have passed.

The reasons for the rejection indicate that Ms. Anderson is not eligible for restoration under section 182 of the IRPR. However, the temporary public policy provides for an exemption to this rule, as highlighted above.

Ms. Anderson meets the requirements of part 3.

For greater certainty, Ms. Anderson meets the requirements of part 3. She is eligible, and she can restore her status after 90 days have passed under the 2023 temporary public policy for PGWP holders.

The following requirements for part 3 are underlined, and my explanation follows:

"i. held a Post-Graduation Work Permit which expired on or after August 30, 2022;"

Yes, Ms. Anderson's work permit expired on October 15, 2022.

"ii. had temporary resident status which expired more than 90 days before their application for a work permit referred to in (iv) was submitted;"

Yes, Ms. Anderson did not have temporary resident status at the time of her application, and more than 90 days had passed. Her status expired on October 15, 2022, and she applied on May 25, 2023.

"iii. was physically present in Canada at the time of application;"

Yes, Ms. Anderson was physically present in Canada.

"iv. has submitted an application for a work permit under section 200 of the Regulations from within Canada, and the duration of the work permit they are seeking is for a maximum of 18 months;"

Yes, Ms. Anderson sought a work permit for 18 months.

"v. has submitted the work permit application referred to in (iv) using electronic means (applied online), or by any other means that is made available or specified by the Minister for that purpose, if the foreign national, because of disability, is unable to meet the requirement to make the application, submit any document, or provide a signature or information using electronic means;"

Yes, Ms. Anderson applied online.

"vi. has requested consideration under this public policy; and"

Yes, her letter of explanation mentioned that she was requesting consideration under the temporary public policy.

"vii. has applied for the restoration of temporary resident status, under subsection 182(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations."

Yes, Ms. Anderson applied for restoration and paid the proper fees.

Ms. Anderson meets the requirements for an exemption.

Conclusion – the application should be reopened due to the error

As noted above, the temporary public policy allows an exemption to restore if more than 90 days have passed. The immigration officer failed to consider and apply the temporary public policy. Ms. Anderson is eligible and meets part 3 of the policy to restore. As such, I request that the rejected application should be reopened, and that processing should continue.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and it is not legal advice. This blog is not a substitute for professional legal advice, and it may not be appropriate for you. Always do your own research and due diligence before making any decisions related to immigration matters. Do not rely exclusively on this blog. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, immigration laws and regulations can vary and change over time. It is important to consult with a qualified immigration lawyer if you are unsure how to proceed.

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