A sponsor’s spouse may be refused residence permit if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the purpose of the marriage is to evade the provisions on entry into or residence in the country. Suspicions of a sham marriage, or a marriage of convenience, may arise for instance if the spouses give contradictory information about each other’s important personal details, such as name, citizenship, family, occupation or address.
There may be grounds to suspect a sham marriage if:
- the spouses have not lived together or have only lived together for a very short time;
- a sum of money has been handed over in order for the marriage to be contracted;
- the spouses do not speak a language understood by both;
- the spouses are inconsistent about their respective personal details;
- the past history of one or both of the spouses contains evidence of previous marriages of convenience;
- the spouses have never met before their marriage;
- the past history of one or both of the spouses contains residence anomalies.
When the possibility of a sham marriage is evaluated, cultural differences are one of the factors taken into account. In some cultures, spouses may not live together prior to marriage.
There may be grounds to suspect the genuineness of an applicant’s marriage, if the applicant has married someone:
- immediately after his or her residence permit application on some other grounds has been rejected;
- immediately after his or her residence permit has been withdrawn;
- immediately after he or she has been informed of a decision on refusal of entry or deportation.
However, the relevance of each of these factors is always assessed individually. The applicant and the spouse will always be heard either in an interview or in writing.