Assessing a Non-Genuine Marriage

Have you ever wondered how immigration officers conclude that a marriage is non-genuine?

Officers must be satisfied that a genuine relationship exists. A marriage, common-law or dependent child relationships which are not genuine (or undertaken for the purpose of acquiring immigration) will be refused and officers are instructed to carefully examine documents that are submitted as proof of the relationship to ensure that they are not fraudulent. If the documents provided do not give adequate proof of the genuine conjugal relationship the application will be refused.

Here are some indicators which immigration officers are trained to look for:

  • The pictures do not include parents or any family members and there may only be a small group of friends, 3 to 4 people in the photos.
  • Private marriage ceremonies are performed by a justice of the peace.
  • The reception is informal, in a restaurant and the reception ends after dinner.
  • The sponsor is often uneducated with a low-paying job or on welfare.
  • There are usually no “diamond” rings.
  • Couples usually do not have a honeymoon (for even for a few days ) due to lack of money.

The photos submitted:

  • are all staged or have an artificial ambience.
  • do not show affection or intimacy or the couples are not touching each other.
  • show individuals dressed in pyjamas or cooking to confirm that they are living together.
  • show the couple wearing the same clothes in all the pictures but in various locations.

Immigration officers may focus on:

  • how long after a divorce did the sponsor enter again into another amorous relationship with someone else he or she is sponsoring?
  • are the last names of the sponsor and the applicant the same showing a previous marriage or relationship?
  • how much does an individual gain by getting permanent residence in Canada? what previous steps has a person taken to obtain status in Canada, such as a refugee claim that was failed or a humanitarian compassionate application?
  • how long have the individuals known each other and have they cohabited together six months or less?
  • what is the age difference – large age difference between the sponsor and the applicant of say 10 years or more?
  • are they similar in educational background or is one highly educated and the other has minimal education?
  • are they from similar cultures or do their cultures vary greatly in ethnicity?
  • does the address history concur with the addresses in documents such as tenancy or mortgage agreements provided?
  • do all the statutory declarations of friends and family appear the same in wording? Do they all seem the same, have the same font in typing or are they original?