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Rejected Citizenship Applicants: Reapplication or Judicial Review

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) maintains high standards for granting Canadian citizenship. While many applicants succeed, some do not, often leading to disappointment and confusion about their next steps. Thankfully, IRCC provides two clear paths for individuals whose citizenship applications are denied: reapplying for citizenship or seeking judicial review through the Federal Court of Canada.


Path 1: Reapplying for Citizenship

Applicants can immediately reapply after a rejection without a mandatory waiting period. Reapplications require a new application fee and the completion of all necessary forms and documents. However, IRCC strongly advises applicants to ensure they meet all citizenship requirements before submitting a new application to avoid repeated refusals.


Key points to consider when reapplying include:

  • Proof of Residency: Make sure to have accurate records of time spent in Canada.
  • Language Requirements: Demonstrate proficiency in English or French through approved testing.
  • Tax Compliance: Ensure all necessary tax returns have been filed.
Path 2: Judicial Review

A judicial review allows applicants to challenge IRCC’s decision in the Federal Court of Canada. This process is not an appeal but an evaluation of the procedural fairness and legal basis of the original decision. Applicants must file a request for leave (permission) for a judicial review within 30 days of receiving the refusal letter.


Two-Step Judicial Review Process:

1. Application for Leave: Applicants must persuade the Federal Court judge that the refusal raises a serious or arguable issue worth examining in court. If the application for leave is denied, the matter ends, as there is no right to appeal.

2. Judicial Review Hearing: If leave is granted, the court sets a hearing date and deadlines for submitting relevant documentation and arguments. The hearing allows the applicant to present oral submissions and, if successful, could lead to a reconsideration of the case by IRCC.


Filing Requirements
  • Applicants must include detailed information such as the names of parties, decision details, grounds for appeal, relevant laws, and contact information.
  • A certified copy of the application must be served to all respondents and filed with the court.
  • The filing fee for a judicial review is $50.

Respondent’s Response: Respondents have 30 days to file affidavits and a memorandum of argument following the service of the applicant’s record.

Reapplying or seeking judicial review can be a complicated process, and it is recommended that applicants consult with legal experts to navigate the system effectively. Each path offers an opportunity for denied applicants to pursue their goal of Canadian citizenship, highlighting IRCC’s commitment to fairness and due process. Ultimately, understanding and following the correct steps can help applicants find the best resolution for their unique circumstances.

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