One of the frequent questions that I am asked is whether an interview is necessary for all sponsorship applications involving immigration applications concerning marriages or common law relationships. The answer is – no.
Generally interviews are not conducted on spousal sponsorship interviews so long as enough documentation is provided that shows a real and on-going relationship between the couple and there are no inconsistencies or confusion in documents submitted.
Interviews take place only when it is essential to assess an application fully. Such interviews may help confirm applicants identities and relationship to the sponsor or other family members and interviews can clarify any questions about a potential applicant’s admissibility. If there is a relationship of convenience suspected, officers will interview the applicant and sponsor separately. With such a tactic, there is a higher possibility in isolating relationships of convenience where answers may not mesh especially with regards to the intimate details of the relationship. Officers may question candidates about the type of toothpaste used by the other party, details of the last meal shared, the last movie watched together or even the side of the bed a person sleeps on regularly or ask for a sketch of the household interior. The depth of questioning can be intense, especially on personal areas, and inconsistencies and hesitations in answering are noted for the file.
It is important to note that if a at negative decision is made by an officer as a result of the interview, an appeal can be made to the Immigration Appeal Division for a full reconsideration on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, but only if the original application was filed by way of an outside-of-Canada application. An application filed by way of an inside-Canada process, however, can only be subject to judicial review and the parties cannot give their own evidence at a tribunal hearing.
The best way to avoid an interview is to ensure that all documentation is accurate and copious showing the bona fides of a relationship.