A spousal application should always be fully documented
I have often written about spousal sponsorship applications and the obstacles that sponsors and applicants face in having their applications approved.
But who is to be blamed when a spousal application is refused? The visa officer? Or the applicants?
The applicants often blame the officer. But is this fair in every case.?
Let’s look at a recent spousal application which was refused by a visa officer. The sponsor had appealed the decision to the Immigration Appeal Division but on my advice withdrew the appeal and then filed a fresh sponsorship application.
The sponsor, whom I will refer to as Vic (not his real name), is a 33 year old mechanic from the Caribbean and a permanent resident of Canada . His spouse, the applicant, whom I will refer to as Sarah (not her real name), is a 36 years old office assistant, also from the Caribbean. They were married according to Hindu rites in June 2013.
In March 2014, Vic, through another counsel, filed an application to sponsor his spouse but the application was refused in October 2014. At the interview, the officer was not satisfied that the couple’s marriage was genuine, based on the documents they submitted and the three year difference in ages between them. The visa officer was especially concerned about the evidence regarding the relationship between the couple, even though the marriage was arranged.
Vic appealed this decision, through a lawyer, to the IAD in December 2014. He filed disclosure for the hearing with an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Officer which was held in June 2015. The ADR was refused and he subsequently withdrew his appeal. Vicky then contacted our office and consulted the writer for advice and guidance.
My firm was then retained to submit a new application which was forwarded in August 2017. In our submission, we provided detailed information about the solid relationship between the sponsor and his spouse, the delay in submitting a new application and the couple’s ongoing communication and their current relationship.
We also summarized the evolution of the relationship, the ongoing relationship with family and friends up to the present time and Vic’s numerous visits to his spouse. We discussed these relevant factors in much detail since the first visa officer had concerns as to the couple’s first meeting and how the relationship developed. We also presented evidence of the continued relationship after the marriage and its development.
In our application, we provided documents with respect to the past four years of communication between the couple, money transfer receipts, proof of travels and letters from friends and family indicating their solid relationship.
Most of these documents were not provided in their first application and we believe that if the visa officer had these documents , the first sponsorship application may not have been rejected.
It is important to note that spousal application should always be fully documented to establish that the marriage is genuine and not solely for immigration purposes. I am happy that the Immigration Minister made changes to the Document Checklist allowing couples, who are not retaining a counsel, to have some guidance on what to submit in support of their application.
Last June, Vic and Sarah were asked to provide the Right of Permanent Residence Fee of $490 and Sarah was asked to send her passport to obtain the necessary visa. The couple were overjoyed that they would be reunited in Canada and now looking forward to a happy life together.
Congratulations to Vic and Sarah!
SUKHRAM RAMKISSOON is a member of ICCRC and specializes in Immigration Matters at No. 3089 Bathurst Street, Suite 219A, Toronto, Ontario. Phone 416 789 5756.