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5 Reasons Your Visa Officer Hates You

Puzzled Owl, Ottawa

Just browse a few immigration forums and you will notice how angry, frustrated or confused some applicants are. Indeed, applying for a visa or the permanent residence is stressful and the whole process can seem obscure. The idea that an immigration officer, in a Canadian embassy somewhere in the world is dissecting your professional and personal life can be quite unsettling.

But on the other side, some immigrants are really giving immigration officers ammunition. Are you one of these offenders?

You don’t think before you dash off your application — Visa or permanent resident applications all come with an instruction guide and some directives. Do read them. If you are unable to fill out the PDF directly online, please print. Likewise, make sure you answer all the questions. And follow CIC’s advice: “Attach a separate sheet of paper if you need more space and indicate the letter and/or number of the question you are answering.” Basically, make sure the application is easy to read and to understand and provide as much detail as you can.

You did not prepare your interview — When applying for a visa (i.e. work or tourist visa) or for the permanent residence, you may be required to meet with an immigration officer. It is a chance for you to explain your decision (for instance, the reason why you want to immigrate to Canada), to clear out any inconsistencies (for example, that you simply want to visit Canada, or that your relationship with a Canadian citizen is genuine). I heard some messed-up interview stories, like applicants arguing with the visa officer or with a family member in the middle of the interview. Or even applicants unable to answer basic questions about Canada, such as the names of the major cities or the two official languages. Do yourself a favour and prepare for the meeting. Applicants in the skilled worker category should be able to demonstrate basic knowledge of Canada and have some plans about the future. Those applying for a tourist visa will need to show that they do not plan to overstay and that they have strong ties to their native country. Take the interview seriously and do your homework!

You provided incomplete information or misrepresented your situation — Incomplete information will slow down the process or even make you ineligible. Misrepresentation is considered immigration fraud and is taken very seriously—you can lose your permanent resident status for that. Give immigration officers some credit: they are trained to spot inconsistencies and they’ve seen it all.

You inquire about your case every week or so — It’s not easy to wait for a decision to be made about your application. Weeks, months, even years go by and people get impatient. No one can really tell how long the immigration process will take but you can always check out the average processing times. But keep in mind these processing times are a picture of history and not a guarantee. In other words, you can’t hold your visa office accountable for averages. In most cases, after you apply, you will receive a letter from CIC stating that if a decision hasn’t been made within whatever time-period, you should contact your visa office. You are welcome to enquire about your case but don’t start raising hell without a valid reason. And for God’s sake, don’t call or email your visa office every week or so. Do you want visa agent to be working on your case or answering your phone calls?

You threaten to make a formal complaint whenever things don’t go your way — If your application is denied, you will understandably be shocked and angry. Before you do anything, let go of the steam. Spare the vitriol: claiming that visa officers are “racist”, “lazy”, “ignorant” etc. won’t help much. Immigration is not a right and the reason why you were denied is usually stated. It is often possible to correct the problem and to re-apply or fill out for appeal. And know the rules before you apply. For example, if you have a DUI conviction on your record, you can be turned down at the border. Yes, even if you are American.

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