Any interview is a stressful experience but spousal interview is of a greater stress when you are trying to unite with your spouse. An unsuccessful interview can keep you away from your spouse for years. India has the notorious distinction of having a high rejection rate for spousal sponsorships. While the paperwork for a spousal sponsorship application is fairly straightforward, the sponsor and the applicant (e.g. spouse in India) needs to prepare for the interview, especially where an incompatibility has been identified by a visa officer.
There is no way to canvass all possible questions that will be asked at an interview. Suffice to say, a visa officer attempts to determine whether there is an actual bonafide relationship. A visa officer also attempts to ascertain the intention of the applicant, whether the applicant intends to immigrate to Canada and reside with the sponsor.
Each situation is different, and a visa officer looks for discrepancies between the answers of you and your spouse (over the phone or in-person if called by a visa officer), at interview, and the application, as well as common sense. A visa officer looks for compatibilities between you and your spouse. This means that, while perfectly genuine, an ‘unusual’ match may attract greater scrutiny.
The compatibilities the visa officer is looking for are the following general categories:
- Age (e.g. a husband being 5-7 years older than the wife);
- Education (it would be unusual for one partner to be significantly more educated – or less – than the other);
- Marital status (a second, third, or fourth marriage for either the sponsor or applicant is a red flag);
- Social background;
- Economic background
In assessing the genuineness of a marriage, a visa/immigration officer usually considers a broad range of factors including, but not limited to:
- How the couple met and how the relationship evolved;
- The duration of the relationship and the amount of time spent together prior to the wedding;
- The nature of the engagement and/or wedding ceremony;
- The intent of the parties to the marriage;
- The evidence of ongoing contact and communication before and after the marriage;
- The spouses’ conduct after the wedding;
- The level of knowledge of each other’s relationship histories;
- The provision of financial support;
- The partners’ families’ knowledge of and involvement in the relationship;
- The knowledge of and contact with extended families of the parties;
- The level of knowledge about each other’s daily lives, and plans and arrangements for the future;
The factors are not exhaustive and the weight assigned to them will vary according to the circumstances of each case.