What is a Letter of Explanation?

letter explanation

Your study trip abroad requires patience and time. However, there are times when one’s visa application is rejected, which can hamper the entire process and mostly this rejection occurs due to misunderstanding and suspicion. Thus, to avoid this hurdle, students wishing to study in Canada are asked to write an explanation letter. The letter of explanation is a brief document in which you state the reasons and clarify the aspects due to which the visa officer may reject your Canadian study permit. This can be added as an additional document.

In This Article

Why Do You Need a Letter of Explanation?

An explanatory letter must be included to support your application, in circumstances where either you have certain documents missing or if the visa officer is not convinced that aspects of your application are genuine or meet the criteria, they Your study permit may be rejected. Common reasons for denial are:-

  • The Purpose of your Visit – If they believe that you are just taking any study programme as an opportunity to visit the country, they can refuse the application. Through a Letter of Explanation you need to emphasize why you want to study in Canada and how this programme will help your professional goals. Your professional goals in applying for the permit should focus on your native country – even if you plan to apply for a PSWP after completion. 
  • Leaving at the End of your Stay – You need to assure them that you will leave the country after the end of your study permit, even if you are going to apply for a PSWP later on, your application should focus on your current goals.

How to Write a Letter of Explanation?

Your letter of explanation should be short, concise and factual; to the point and provide truthful and accurate information. To write a Letter of Explanation, you need to follow the following steps:

  1. Study Plan
  • A Short Personal Introduction– Write a little introduction about yourself 
  • Write about the university/programme– Talk about the university and programme you have chosen. Provide reasons for why you selected this particular university, and the features of the programme you have applied for.
  • Why have you chosen to study in Canada– Emphasize why you have chosen to study in Canada and not your native country. Provide reasons for not pursuing a similar goal in your homeland and how this is a better opportunity for your future
  • Future Goals– Talk about the educational goals you wish to pursue and how this education will allow you to contribute to your country in the future.
  1. Ties to your country
  • Emphasizes reasons that will make you return to your home country post-studies. Write about your families, assets, properties, career opportunities (alongside a support letter from your current employer if any)
  • Financial Aid – How will you pay for your education and expenses. If another person is paying for your living and study, mention their name and your relation with them.
  1. Travel history (if applicable)
  • If you have travelled to other countries before, providing a summary of them is beneficial as it will demonstrate your compliance with immigration rules
  1. Immigration status (if applicable)
  • If you currently don’t reside in your native country,explain your legal status in that country and provide a copy of your immigration status
  1. Additional Documents (if applicable)
  • Provide transcripts of your previous education including details of

– Your educational history
-The course(dates it started and ended, qualification, degree or certificate awarded) 
-The previous institution (name and address of the school/college/university)

  • Previous work experience (if any) – Provide an official document on a company letterhead containing the applicant’s name and the company’s contact information alongside the signature, name and title of the immediate supervisor or personnel officer of the company. Should indicate all positions held while employed and must include details like 
  • Job Title
  • Duties and Responsibilities
  • Job Status (if current job)
  • Dates worked for the company
  • Number of work hours per week
  • Annual Salary (+ benefits)
  1. A summary of additional documents at the end of the letter

Do Not Include

  • Your family history
  • Slangs
  • Irrelevant information
  • Repetition of words or phrases
  • Vague Statements; provide demonstrative examples of professional competence and academic brilliance instead
  • False Documents

Common Mistakes

  • Copying from a friend or the internet
  • Being too casual or direct
  • False statements or inaccurate information
  • Forged documents or signatures. 


[Your Full Name]                                                                         [Date] [Your Mailing Address][Your Telephone: (area code) – (number)] [Your Email Address]

Re: UCI number XXXX-XXX, [Study Permit]

Dear Visa Officer,

I am applying for a Study Permit. I am attaching this letter to provide an explanation on the following:

[Follow the Above Mentioned Steps to make the Body of the Letter, If this a Letter in Response to Refusals, mention the problems and provide your reasons]

Topic #1 

Topic #2

Thank you very much for your consideration.


[Your Signature] [Your Name]

Some Tips for Writing a Letter of Explanation

  • Length should be around 500-600 words (within 2 pages, not including the additional letters/documents)
  • Clear and simple language must be added to make the content understandable.
  • Make sure to do a couple of drafts for editing and reading;
  • No need to use APA style, font 11 or 12 is acceptable
  • Use headings e.g. purpose of studies, travel history etc
  • Insert page numbers on your letter of explanation;
  • Enclose a summary of your supporting documents at the end of your letter
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