The Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) is the division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) that is tasked with hearing appeals on immigration matters involving Canadian citizens or permanent residents, including sponsorship appeals, removal order appeals and residency obligation appeals.
If your family sponsorship application has been rejected, here are the steps required to appeal to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD)
How do I start a sponsorship appeal?
A Canadian permanent resident or citizen who made an application to sponsor a family member to immigrate to Canada can appeal to the IAD if the application was refused by an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) officer. A sponsor cannot appeal a sponsorship application to the IAD where the foreign applicant was found inadmissible to Canada because of:
- Serious criminality
- Organized crime
- Security grounds
- Violations of human rights, or
- Misrepresentation (unless the person you sponsored is your spouse, common-law partner, or child)
Step 1: File the Notice of Appeal
Once you receive a refusal letter from IRCC along with the written reasons for the refusal, you will have 30 days after receiving the refusal letter to appeal to the IAD. In order to file a sponsorship appeal, you must submit the following:
- A completed Notice of Appeal Form;
- A copy of the IRCC refusal letter sent to the person you sponsored.
Once you complete the Notice of Appeal Form, you will have to send it along with the IRCC refusal letter to the IAD office that serves the province or territory where you live. If you are mailing your form and letter to the relevant IAD office, you must ensure that the IAD office receives them before the 30-day deadline. The IAD may then request further information from you regarding your appeal.
Step 2: Receive the Appeal Record
The next step in the sponsorship appeal process is receiving the appeal record. The IAD, in most cases, will request the appeal record from the Minister. This record contains all the relevant information that is related to the decision made by the IRCC officer regarding your application. The Minister must provide the record to you or to your counsel and to the IAD within 120 days for the date requested.
Step 3: Alternative Dispute Resolution Conference, if Applicable
Depending on the facts of your case, the IAD may suggest that your appeal be scheduled for an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) conference. ADRs are information meetings that take place between you (and your counsel, if applicable), the Minister’s Counsel, and an IAD officer. In the meeting, the parties will discuss the case and any clarification of the issues. The purpose of the ADR is to encourage a resolution that all sides can agree on to avoid taking the matter to a hearing.
Step 4: Scheduling Your Hearing Date
If your appeal cannot be resolved using ADR and requires an oral hearing, the IAD will invite you to an oral hearing where you (and your counsel) and the Minister’s representative will have a chance to present your evidence and testify before an IAD panel.
If you have retained the help of a legal representative, the IAD will contact your counsel to schedule your hearing. At least four weeks before the hearing date, you will receive a Notice to Appear which contains important information on the time and place of your hearing. If you have not retained a legal representative, the IAD will contact you directly and provide you with a Notice to Appear for a scheduling conference, where the IAD officer will explain the hearing process and schedule a date for your hearing.
Step 5: Preparing Your Documents
Once you have your hearing date, you must begin preparing your case. This preparation includes gathering documents to support your case and preparing for possible witnesses whose testimonies at the hearing can help your case. You must ensure that all of your documents are in either English or French or translated by a certified translator. You must also comply with the rules relating preparing your disclosure package. Once your document package is completed, you must send a coy to the IAD and a copy to the Minister’s counsel.
You must submit your document package to the Minister’s counsel and to the IAD no later than 20 days before the hearing, or by the date indicated in any letter from the IAD requesting documents. If you will be mailing your disclosure package, it is recommended that you allow an extra 20 days for delivery time anywhere in Canada.
Step 6: Attending the Hearing
On the day of the hearing, ensure that everyone, including witnesses, arrive ahead of time and are ready. Generally, the appellant will be the first witness to testify. This usually includes being asked to answer questions posed to you by the board Member, your counsel and the Minister’s representative. Witnesses will generally follow with the same process. Once all questioning is completed, the parties will be given a chance to make final arguments or submissions explaining why the evidence shows or does not show that the Member should or should not allow your appeal. Although closing arguments are usually made orally, the Member may sometimes require that they be given in writing after the hearing is finished.
Once the hearing is completed and the oral or written submissions have been weighed, the Member will make a decision. If a decision is not reached at the end of the hearing, you will receive the Member’s decision and reasons by mail no more than 60 days after the hearing ends.
Step 7: Receiving a Decision
The IAD Member may decide to allow your appeal or dismiss your appeal. If your appeal is allowed, the IRCC officer’s decision to refuse your application is overturned. IRCC will then continue to process the application for permanent residency. If your appeal is dismissed, the IRCC’s decision to refuse your application remains the same. You may then wish to consult legal advice to explore further avenues available to you, which may include judicial review.