I’ve talked in the past about preparing and submitting a spousal sponsorship. These applications are straightforward but there are complications that may come up that may require legal advice or representation.
Once a positive decision is made on sponsor eligibility an officer will finalize the application by reviewing the applicant's - the sponsored person is the applicant - his or her admissibility to Canada and the genuineness of the relationship. If the documents provided don't satisfy an officer's concerns, an interview may be held.
This spousal interview causes stress and anxiety for both the sponsor and applicant. In my view the best antidote for stress and anxiety is preparation; I'm surprised how often applicant's walk into an interview "cold" with little or no preparation.
The interview usually involves only the applicant; however the sponsor can also be asked questions (if overseas, the visa officer may call the sponsor). Remember, methods vary principles stay the same. The key is to think like an officer.
You've got to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your file.
Questions will be asked about the origins and development of the relationship. Questions will be asked about pre- and post-marriage behaviour (trips, outings, activities).
One issue that I've seen over the years is haste, particularly in arranged marriages. If the sponsor and applicant met and married within a short period of time, the officer will undoubtedly have issues regarding the haste in such an arrangement. How did the sponsor and applicant come to make such a significant life altering decision in x amount of days? The officer will want to know the decision making process and your explanation has to be cogent, reasonable, plausible and ultimately credible.
If the marriage is not in accordance with religious or cultural norm, be prepared to address it. Don't get your back up. Don't get offended. Explain how this apparent incompatibility is not an issue; perhaps the officer is wrong on his or her assumption of a cultural norm. Or, that overall compatibility trumped this one superficial incompatibility.
The same issue occurs when there is a significant age difference between the couple. In my view this is a personal choice between two consenting adults; and again, you will need to stress the overall compatibility or how this issue was addressed or overcome.
The applicant will be asked knowledge questions. He or she will be asked about their spouse's life in Canada. These answers should be detailed and specific and not vague or full of generalities. These questions could be about the sponsor's previous relationship history, his or her children from a previous relationship, their employment, hobbies and finances.
In my experience, the decision often turns on knowledge.
The applicant will be asked about contact and financial support (if any) since the marriage and sponsorship. Contact should be regular and on-going. Anything else would detract from what is expected of a genuine couple. Return trips, especially when the sponsor can afford it and the processing times are lengthy, are supportive of a genuine relationship.
The applicant may be asked about future plans. What has the couple discussed in planning their life in Canada?
Be direct. Look into the officer's eyes and deal with the questions that you are asked. If you don't know the answer to a question, say you don't know. If you are guessing, say that you are guessing. Do not lie. Do not embellish your application or attempt to strengthen it with false documentation or representations. Do not accept bad advice to do so. You may be in a genuine relationship, but a finding of misrepresentation will set you back years -- and thousands of dollars to an immigration lawyer -- in your efforts to come to Canada.
Remember that certain issues are simply difficult to deal with. You will be behind the eight ball whenever the applicant has an extensive and negative immigration history. If the applicant has been previously deported from Canada the officer will think that the intentions are to return to Canada, not to be with the sponsor.
Finally, if the application is refused, the sponsor has 30 days from receiving the negative decision in Canada to file an appeal with the IAD.
I hope this information will be useful and wish you the best of luck.