Appealing a sponsorship decision on a spouse or partner – bad faith relationship

In this type of appeal, an immigration officer of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has refused to issue a visa to your sponsored spouse or partner (common-law or conjugal). You should be prepared to deal with all of the reasons the officer gave for refusing the visa.

Can you demonstrate that your marriage or common-law or conjugal relationship is genuine and was not entered into primarily for immigration purposes?

The sponsorship of your spouse or partner was refused because the officer believed your marriage or common-law or conjugal relationship is not genuine. The refusal may also be because the officer believed that your marriage or relationship was entered into primarily for immigration purposes. Canada’s immigration law does not allow marital, common-law or conjugal sponsorships if the primary reason for the relationship is to allow the person to immigrate to Canada or if the relationship is not genuine. This is stated in subsection 4(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations.

Here are some questions that the decision maker will expect you to answer to show that your relationship is genuine and was not entered into primarily for immigration purposes. You will have to demonstrate both:

  • How did you meet your spouse or partner and how did your relationship develop?
  • How long have you known your spouse or partner? How well do you know each other?
  • Do your friends and family know about your relationship?
  • How did you get married? If you live common-law, how did you arrange to live together? If you are conjugal partners, what is the nature of your relationship?
  • What do you and your spouse or partner plan for your future together?

The evidence you will prepare and present may be different if your marriage was arranged. This situation is different from those where the relationship between two persons has developed over time. Arranged marriages have different cultural considerations such as how the marriage was arranged and the compatibility of the couple.

What kind of evidence will help you to present your case?

You need to gather documents and be ready to testify to demonstrate the closeness of your marital, common-law or conjugal relationship. Examples include letters and other messages, phone bills, photographs and videos, plane tickets, and receipts for money transfers.

You can also call your spouse or partner to testify at your hearing, or other witnesses who know about your relationship, such as your friends or family. They can do this in person, by videoconference or by telephone. You will need to prepare what questions you will ask your witnesses and what is relevant to prove your case. It is important to use your hearing time carefully as all hearings are limited in duration.

If the officer also questioned the documents you showed to demonstrate you were legally married, gather any documents and written arguments you have about the laws that govern marriage in the country where you married.