Sponsorship Appeals

There are many issues involved in properly handling a Canadian immigration refusal. A qualified Canadian immigration lawyer should be able to assess your immigration application refusal and answer the following questions about your case:

  • Are you eligible to appeal the negative immigration decision?
  • How long do you have to file your appeal? For example, do you have 15, 30 or 60 days after being notified of the refusal?
  • What Canadian immigration court should you file the appeal? Is it the Federal Court of Canada or the IAD?
  • What procedure is involved in filing and processing the Immigration appeal? What steps have to be taken?
  • How long is it going to take? When should I expect a result?
  • What are the chances of the appeals success?

If Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) has refused the application of a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident to sponsor the immigration of a close family member to Canada, the sponsor may appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB).

However,A sponsor may not appeal if the family member is inadmissible to Canada because of:

  • A serious criminal offence punished in Canada by a term of imprisonment of two years or more
  • Involvement in organized crime
  • Security grounds
  • Violations of human or international rights
  • Misrepresentation (unless the person is the sponsor’s spouse, common-law partner or child)

If the reason for the refused application was not due to one of the aforementioned causes:

  • You may be eligible to appeal your Canadian Immigration application refusal to the Federal Court of Canada within a certain period after you were notified of the refusal by Canada Immigration
  • You may be eligible to appeal your Canadian Immigration application refusal to the Immigration Adjudication Division (IAD) within a certain period of time after your application was refused by Canada Immigration
  • You may be eligible to make a request for restoration to the Case Processing Centre (CPC) after being notified of the refusal

It is important that if your immigration application was refused, you act very quickly. There are strict appeal deadlines that must be noted in order to secure your rights. It is therefore important that you contact a qualified immigration law firm to quickly assess your case and outline your options without delay.

Your sponsor has only 30 days after the refusal to appeal to the IAD. Some sponsorship appeals go through an informal alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process. In most cases, a member (decision-maker) will hold a hearing of the appeal according to the IRB tribunal process. The appeal process involves two parties: the appellant and Minister’s counsel who represents CIC. Additionally, the process is usually public, so media or members of the public may attend or report on the proceedings.

If the appeal is allowed and the original decision is set aside, the CIC will resume processing the sponsorship application, as the CIC is bound by the IRB’s decision. However, it is possible for CIC to refuse the application on other grounds, and this may also be appealed to the IAD.

Either the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration or the sponsor may apply to the Federal Court of Canada for leave, permission, or judicial review of the IRB’s decision. The Federal Court of Canada will either dismiss the application or return the case to the IAD for re-hearing.


The IAD may suggest that the appeal be decided through alternative dispute resolution (ADR). ADR is only suggested for appropriate cases. This process means that the sponsor and the Minister’s counsel will sit down with a dispute resolution officer (DRO), assigned by the IAD, to discuss the case. The DRO will help clarify the issues in the case and encourage both sides to agree on a decision. If ADR is successful, there is no need for a hearing.