Canadian Sponsorship Interview
Normally, the interview request will be directed to the principal applicant (the sponsored spouse) who will have to present themselves for an interview with immigration officials.
Occasionally, the sponsor may be allowed to be present or be asked questions themselves, but the interview will mostly (and often exclusively) be with the principal applicant.
This means it’s the principal applicant who will have to prepare for the interview, although this should be done working with the sponsor.
An interview request means that IRCC officials need to confirm some important things, even when you feel your application package is a strong one:
- Is your relationship with the sponsor genuine?
- Is the information you have presented in your application accurate and truthful?
- Does the information coincide with your answers to the questions you will be asked in the interview?
The key is what things to focus on to get ready for the interview. Let’s consider a few questions about what you should prepare for the interview:
Warning: If a sponsorship application was approved without an interview it is because the sponsorship application was strong enough on its own. If an interview is requested in most cases this will be the deciding factor for approval or denial of your case. Take this very seriously.
Sponsorship Interview Preparation: What should you work on – your pronunciation or reviewing documentation?
Documentation of course!
While you should always be working at improving your English and/or French language skills, you need to make sure you have the facts straight to avoid inconsistencies. Review your forms and supporting documents as if you were preparing to give evidence. It will have been months (maybe over a year) since you filled out the forms by the time you get an interview request, so go back and review them carefully.
Remember! This might include who was in one of your wedding photographs. The officer will absolutely ask you questions about your wedding! Be prepared.
- Bring a photo album that further proves your relationship – especially if you filed your application and did not hire a legal representative. Just make sure you bring photos that were not originally submitted.
- Bring any additional documents that you feel you left out in your original sponsorship application. Example: Letter from family members or important people in your community that are aware of your relationship.
- If you have kids with your partner, bring a DNA test proving the child is biologically yours and your partners. This advice is especially useful if you have other children from previous relationships.
- Bring a few phone numbers of family and friends that are intimately aware of your relationship and tell the case officer that they can call right now to validate your claims.
Sponsorship Interview Preparation: What should you remember – important dates or what you ate at the Wedding Party?
The wedding dates and other important dates of course! Birthdays and anniversaries of family members, for example. Make a list and try to remember them if you’re the type of person who has problems with dates.
As well, other dates like when an application was filed or when you started university or when you started working at a certain company may also be requested.
Having said that, the more details you can remember about your Wedding Party, and the more it coincides with what the sponsor – if asked – says, the better off you will be in the interview.
Sponsorship Interview Preparation: Which is more important – how tall your partner is or what it is about them that you like or love?
What it is about them that you love of course! Officials ask this question to assess whether your relationship is real.
This is a little tricky because you need to relax but also be fairly focused and believable. Answers that are just emotional enough and just factual enough will help your credibility.
Sponsorship Interview Preparation: Should you walk out of the interview if the officer has a stern look or relax and answer the questions as truthfully as possible?
You relax and answer as truthfully as possible of course! These are immigration officials, not marriage therapists. They will be stern and often fairly tough with their questions. You have to accept that fact and answer calmly and to the best of your ability.
Ask a question if you don’t understand what they’re trying to ask you. They will ask tough questions because they are trying to see if your marriage is fraudulent and only for immigration purposes. Be prepared for that.
DON’T get into an argument with the immigration official. Remember that they are doing a job, a crucial job of ensuring that only qualified legitimate applicants are accepted as permanent residents in Canada.
Sponsorship Interview Preparation:: Should you never waste the immigration officer’s time with updated documents?
NO! Always bring in any updated documents that reflect any changes that have happened since you submitted your application or since you last provided updates to IRCC.
This shows that you are keeping IRCC informed of any and all changes to your situation. That’s key!
Remember to make copies of those updated documents in case the official keeps them!
Sponsorship Interview Preparation: Should you ignore any interpreter provided for the interview until the interview begins?
Not at all! If you need an interpreter for the interview, exchange a few words with the interpreter to ensure that you understand each other. Do this before the interview begins.
Tips to follow at your interview
- Do not initiate small talk, unless it’s first initiated by the government official first.
- Do not try making friends.
- Do not try being excessively charming.
- Listen carefully to the question.
- When asked a simple question (example: what country did you meet) keep your answer short and to the point!
- When asked a question, especially about the relationship, make sure you give clear details.
- Come to the meeting prepared.
- Show up 15 minutes before your appointment.
- Do not wear over-powerful cologne or perfumes.
- Dress appropriately, nothing over the top but also don’t look like you just finished cleaning your apartment.
- Remember the case officer treats everyone the same way, you may be one of five interviews they are doing today, so don’t take it personally.
What happens if the application is refused, in most cases, its called a sponsorship appeal. In short, more time, a lot more paperwork and you will almost surely have to hire legal counsel to help you.
You can read more about sponsorship appeals here.
Tip: What type of personality are you?
Over the years we have noticed people falling into mainly two camps when they feel anxiety or nervousness because of the interview.
Here are the two types to be aware of and what to do:
Overly talkative type: If you are the type that talks way too much when feeling nervous take the following advice very seriously:
- Do not over-explain everything – keep your answers on point.
- If you catch yourself slipping and over-explaining,
- Stop, even in mid-sentence,
- don’t beat yourself up over it,
- you can honestly state to the case officer, “sorry just a little nervous.”
- Listen to the question and get out of your head. Overly talkative personalities are notorious for not listening to the question. Here is what to do:
- Turn off your mind’s inner dialogue,
- listen to the question carefully,
- pause for three to five seconds before answering,
- before the interview, practice getting comfortable with silence.
Silent Type: This personality shuts down when nervous and comes across, aloof and reserved. This gives the feeling like they are hiding something:
- Do not keep your answer to one to two words. Use complete sentences when giving your answer.
- Practice mock interviews (more on this subject below).
Common Interview Questions
During a spousal sponsorship application, the sponsored spouse is often asked to attend an interview a the local visa office. (The sponsoring spouse is usually not required to attend an interview, though this may be different for inland applications.) Here is a list of potential interview questions the principal applicant (sponsored spouse) might be asked at an interview for a sponsorship application. Some of the questions would only be asked for outland applicants, others for inland applicants only, others are applicable to both situations:
Communications between the two of you
- When and where did you meet your spouse for the first time?
- Who initiated contact?
- How often did you contact each other before your first meeting in person? How did you communicate? Where is your proof?
- How often did you talk on the phone?
- Do you have phone bills, e-mails, cards, etc., and can I see them?
Visiting Canada (if applicable)
- Where (which airport) did you first Land in Canada? What date?
- How many times have you been to Canada? How long did you stay each time?
- Have you ever stayed in Canada without status (i.e. after your visa has expired)?
- Why did you overstay?
- What did you do to rectify the situation?
- When did you leave Canada the last time? / When did you leave Canada when you didn’t have status? How long did you leave?
- Have you been admitted back into Canada with legal status since?
- Have you been issued any kind of document that authorizes you to live in Canada since you were without status? If yes what type and when is the expiry date?
- Has your spouse been to visit you in your home country? When?
- How many times has your spouse been to visit you?
- Where did your spouse land when they visited you? (Which Airport?)
- Did your spouse ever go to your home country prior to your relationship?
- Did you go to Canada prior to your relationship with your spouse?
- What is your husband’s/wife’s/partner’s name?
- What do you call him/her?
- How old is your spouse/partner? What is your spouse’s birth date?
- What colour are his/her eyes and hair?
- Does your spouse colour his/her hair?
- Does your spouse wear glasses or contact lenses?
- Does your spouse have any distinguishing features (birth marks, scars, disfigurements of the body)?
- Where was your spouse born? Which country and city?
- Does your spouse have any allergies?
- What is your religion?
- What is the religion of your spouse?
- When you and your spouse were dating what would you do together?
- Do you have any hobbies? Describe them.
- Does your spouse have any hobbies? Describe them.
- What type of music do you enjoy?
- What type of music does your spouse enjoy?
- What kind of movies do you enjoy?
- What kind of movies does your spouse enjoy?
- What kind of books do you read?
- What kind of books does your spouse read?
- Have you and your spouse ever exchanged gifts? Describe them.
- Please explain the type of relationship you have had since your first meeting.
- What makes your relationship with your spouse different from that of a female/male friend?
- Does your spouse support you financially?
- If I refuse this application what will you do?
- Where did your spouse go to school? (Elementary and high school)
- How many years of school did your spouse Complete?
- What degrees or formal training does your spouse have?
- In terms of education, would you say that you and your spouse’s educational background are compatible?
- Where did you work in your home country before coming to Canada?
- What is the name of the company? What position did you hold? How long did you work there?
- What did the job entail?
- Did you like your job?
- What was the salary?
- What do you intend to do when you come to Canada?
- What degrees or formal training do you have?
- What degrees or formal training does your spouse have?
- Where does your spouse work? What’s the name of the company? How does he/she travel to work?
- How long has your spouse worked there?
- What does the job entail?
- does your spouse like his or her job?
- What is the salary?
- Where does your spouse live?
- Whom does your spouse live with?
- Does anyone else live in your household other than your spouse and children?
- At what addresses have you lived at with your spouse?
- Did you own any Property with your spouse?
- What type of accommodation do you live in? House, condo or apartment?
- Is it rental or do you own it? If rented, how long is your lease? Are you both on the lease?
- How much is the rent?
- Who makes sure the bills are paid? How much do you pay for Cable/phone/hydro etc.?
Marriage (if applicable)
- When and where did the marriage proposal take place?
- Was your marriage arranged?
- When did you get married?
- Where did you get married?
- Who was at the wedding?
- How many people were at the ceremony?
- What day was the ceremony held on?
- Who performed the ceremony?
- Do you have pictures of the ceremony?
- Who was at the ceremony from your side?
- Who was at the ceremony from your spouse’s side?
- Were any friends present?
- Were your parents at the wedding? If not, why not?
- Where your spouse’s parents at the wedding? If not, why not?
- Were your spouse’s parents aware of the wedding? If not, why not?
- Was a reception held? When and where was it held?
- Who was present at the reception?
- Did you receive any wedding gifts? Describe them.
- Did you on a honeymoon? Where did you go and for how long?
- Can you show me pictures and receipts from the honeymoon, wedding and reception?
- Have you or your spouse been married before?
- Why was that relationship ended?
- Who initiated the divorce?
- What were the reasons for the divorce?
- What was the date the marriage was dissolved?
- Why did you marry your spouse?
- Since your marriage have you seen your spouse? If not, why not?
- Tell me why this marriage or relationship is genuine.
- Why were you so rushed to be married? How do you explain that?
- Do you have any children form a previous relationship? If so what is their relationship like with your spouse?
- What are their names and date of birth?
- Who has Custody of these children?
- Do you have visitation rights/spend time with them at your home or there’s?
- How often do you see your children?
- Does your current spouse have any children from a previous relationship? If yes
- What are their names and date of birth?
- Who has Custody of these children?
- Does your spouse have visitation rights/spend time with them?
- How often does your spouse see their children?
- Do you have any children from your current marriage?
- How many children?
- What are the names and birth dates?
- Where are the children now?
- Who looks after the children?
- How many brothers and sisters does your spouse have?
- What relatives does your spouse have in Canada?
- What relatives do you have in Canada?
- What are their names and where do they live?
- What relatives does your spouse have outside of Canada?
- What relatives do you have outside of Canada?
- Has your spouse met any of your relatives or friends? Who have they met and when did they meet them?
- Have you met any of your spouse’s relatives or friends? Whom have you met and when did you meet them?
- Did you get married to get to Canada?
- Did your spouse pay you to go to Canada?
- Did anyone pay you to go to Canada?
- Did you pay your spouse to sponsor you?
- If yes, How much?
Here are two good examples of the way you should answer the questions:
What is the date you two met?
Wrong: It was last year sometime in the spring, I remember I just had a long flight and I was just overwhelmed and jet-lagged. To be honest, I was a little hangover….
Correct: It was April 14, 2020, early afternoon, approximately 1:30.
Tell me about the first time you met?
Wrong: It was at a party.
Correct: It was February 12, 2020, just after lunchtime, in the city of Barcelona. I and my best friend Susan McAllen were going to a dance festival hosted by the local municipality in the town square. We had a great time and as we were leaving I struck up a simple conversation with my now-husband. It was just after 3 pm when we met and I think we ended up talking the whole day. I got back to my apartment by 9 pm and we exchanged contact information and promised to meet the next day, which we did.
How much time should you invest in the interview preparation?
See below and find which statement fits your case.
Preparation is a must!
- I am very nervous about the interview
- My case is weak. (Example: big age difference, second sponsorship application, in the past 14 months we were only together for 30 days, divorced recently, few children from other partners, my partner lives or is from a poor country.)
Little or no preparation will do:
- We have been together for over 5+ years in an intimate relationship and have children together.
- I know my spouse inside and out.
- I am not nervous at all about the interview.
- The age difference between us is not much (or normal within Canadian society)
How to prepare for the interview
Three words, practice, practice, practice, you need to sit down with someone that will play the bad cop and give you a mock interview using the question on this webpage.
Preparation tip: Hire a legal professional one to two weeks before your interview. They need to answer your question, give you tips and run a mock interview with you. This will be worth gold if you hire someone with interview experience.
How to find someone with interview experience and what is the expected cost?
The cost for this service can run you as low as $150 to $650.
Tip: Legal practitioners (consultants, lawyers, and paralegals) all have some type of licensing board that regulates their organization. This regulatory body has a code of conduct that its members must follow. One of the rules all have is they can’t lie to their clients. So by asking them directly, ‘how many sponsorship interviews have you done with your clients’, they will give you one of two answers, the run-around statement that says nothing with a lot of words and a direct answer. The answer should be at least 4-5, does not sound like a lot of experience but most legal practitioners do not do the volume as Immigroup does and it is a perfectly acceptable amount.
An important thing to remember is your asking about a sponsorship interview experience and not sponsorship application experience.
You may be asking why does Immigroup give away such great information for free? The reason is that we don’t just tell you what we know we show you. The other reason is, because of Immigroup’s core principle of converting you as a client for life.
If you would like Immigroup to prepare you for a sponsorship interview we charge $425 + tax for a one-hour consultation. It is not cheap but you get what you pay for.
How does Immigroup interview preparation service works?
- Fill out our below order to initiate the service. Note: you will not be charged until the legal professional has reviewed and your order.
- After the order is placed it will take one to two business days for the order to be reviewed and accepted. At which time you will get an email from your consultants asking what date and time you are available.
Tip: This service should be initiated 4-8 weeks before your interview. This will give you a lot more time slots to pick from. You need to try booking a date that is as close as possible to the actual official interview (1-2 weeks is ideal, but don’t do it 1 day before, you need to give your brain a few days to digest the information.
*If this is an emergency and you need an appointment ASAP, please note your Immigroup consultant is usually fully booked for 2-3 weeks in advance and they will charge you an extra fee for them to drop everything to attend to your matter. See fees below (emergency appointments are not guaranteed and no fees will be charged. We can get back to you in 1 business day or less with an answer).