【Case Study】How to obtain a spouse visa even the dating period is short
Ms. A, who is an American living in Tokyo as a student, and Mr. B, who is a Japanese living in Osaka, decided to get married and to continue living in Japan. For that, they started to research on the status of residence of “Spouse or Child of Japanese National” (hereinafter, referred to as a “spouse visa”).
After searching about a spouse visa, they started to be worried about the length of their relationship as they met 3 months ago on internet. They only saw each other a few times until marriage.
They came to us for our free consultation since they were worried if the length of their relationship was too short for obtaining permission for a spouse visa.
“We applied for a spouse visa after international marriage, but the visa was not granted…”
We hear about such issue from our clients sometime.
Then, how long does the period of relationship have to be for getting a permission for a spouse visa?
In this article, we focus on cases of application for a spouse visa where the period of relationship is short.
1. Not everyone who had international marriage gets a spouse visa
Is a spouse visa granted every time a Japanese marries a foreigner?
From the point of view of the Japanese person, it is unfavorable that the family members live separately, so a spouse visa should be permitted.
However, the immigration policy of Japan is not “globalization,” which abolishes boundary walls, but “internationalization,” which enlarges or increases the number of the gates on the walls while the boundary walls stay as they are. Foreigners therefore cannot stay in Japan unlimitedly even if they marry to a Japanese. During examination on application for a spouse visa, 2 elements are strictly examined; “if the financial situation stable enough for the couple to continue living in Japan” and “if the marriage real.”
In other words, international marriage is not equal to permission for a spouse visa.
2. Matters to be checked during examination concerning a spouse visa
As mentioned above, during the examination concerning a spouse visa, 2 matters are mainly checked; one is “if the financial situation is stable enough for the couple to continue living in Japan” and the other one is “if the marriage is real.”
We would like to explain each matter.
The first one is “if the financial situation is stable enough for the couple to continue living in Japan.”
If there is a possibility that the couple will have financial difficulty in future, the possibility to obtain a spouse visa becomes lower. Accordingly, income and assets that are enough to have stable marriage life are required.
The second one is “if the marriage is real.” The real marriage here means that the wife and husband live together with intention to provide mutual cooperation and assistance.
Proving that the marriage is real is not easy because it concerns the intention of the couple. Objective evidence is therefore essential to prove it.
3. “Length of relationship” is an important element for application for a spouse visa
We have a question for you. Mr. X and Ms. Y had international marriage. Is the marriage real?
If you are suddenly asked like this, you will most probably answer, “I don’t know because I don’t know who they are, or how they met, dated and got married.”
Only their friends who know them for a long time can say with confidence that it’s a real marriage, and it is impossible to know whether it’s a real marriage if you don’t know the couple. Now we would like to add a fact that Mr. X and Ms. Y dated for 3 years before marriage. Doesn’t it sound more like a real marriage?
What about if Mr. X and Ms. Y only dated for 1 month before marriage? Don’t you feel that the possibility of the marriage being fake or the possibility that they will get divorced are comparatively high as the dating period is short?
The immigration officers should feel the same way. Thus, the immigration officers first check the length of relationship to find out if international marriage is real. The length of relationship is an index for substance of marriage.
4. Advantages of a long relationship and disadvantages of short relationship when applying for a spouse visa
When applying for a spouse visa, the fact that the period of relationship is long alone is beneficial. Such fact is also beneficial from other aspect. If the dating period is long, there are many pictures take together, emails sent to each other, etc. that prove their relationship, which help to establish the substance of marriage to the immigration officers.
Conversely, if the dating period is short, there are usually not much evidence to prove the relationship of the couple. Due to this, proving from various aspects is essential to show to the immigration officers that the marriage is real.
In any case, you may be worried if the length of relationship is too short, but you definitely should not fake the period of relationship. Even if you think you made a good enough story to deceive immigration officers, they will find out without fail, and you will not be granted a spouse visa. Even if every part other than the length of relationship is true, the genuineness of such true parts will also be doubted. Therefore, never submit documents with false contents!
In fact, when applying for a spouse visa, shortness of the dating period is a negative fact, but even so, you still a chance to obtain a spouse visa. Like many of our cases, if you look back your relationship as a couple and can prepare things that can show the substance of your relationship, you may be able to obtain a spouse visa regardless of the length of relationship.
5. What are elements causing stricter examination other than short relationship?
There are other elements that often cause stricter examination by immigration officers other than short period of relationship. The examples listed below are checked carefully because they have been used for crimes such as fake marriage.
For instance, if the Japanese person in the couple has a history of several divorce, there is a tendency that the examination will be stricter.
A Japanese person marries a foreigner and gets divorced in a while after the foreigner comes to Japan, and marries another foreigner. There were cases where such fake marriages were repeated to let many foreigners enter Japan, and therefore marriage with a Japanese person with history of several divorce gets tested strictly.
Other than that, cases where a couple met on an online dating site or at a matrimonial center are examined strictly. Especially, when there is a great disparity in age, the immigration officers carefully examine if they are really in love, if the marriage is a fake one for business purpose, if the applicant is deceiving his/her spouse to work in Japan, and so on.
However, even in case that you have such negative elements, if you truly love each other, you should tell immigration officers how you met each other without hiding or falsifying facts. Even with the elements that cause stricter examination, as long as you gather evidence from various aspects that show the substance of relationship to prove that your marriage is real, it’s still possible to receive a spouse visa.
6. Summary of “How to obtain a spouse visa even the dating period is short”
If the couple is married after being passionately in love, the substance of marriage definitely exists. There is a higher possibility to obtain a spouse visa if you can prepare firm materials to show immigration officers that the relationship is real.
Before preparing materials, you should contemplate and make a good strategy as to what materials you need and how you are going to use them to prove the substance of relationship.
Each relationship is different. Each couple has their own memories and various incidents before marriage. Sometimes something that you never expect helps to prove your relationship.
It’s too early to decide that you cannot prove the substance of relationship as the period of relationship is too short and that you need to continue long distance relationship.
In the case of Ms. A and Mr. B, they met on internet and didn’t see each other many times before marriage as they lived apart in Tokyo and in Osaka. The length of relationship was only 3 months, too.
Because of that, we needed to demonstrate the substance of relationship when applying for a spouse visa for Ms. A. We asked details of their relationship according to time series and requested them to prepare their pictures corresponding to each event. Since they usually had conversations on internet, a bunch of communication history were left. Then we prepared a document explaining the history of their relationship with pictures and internet communications linked to each event from how they met to how they started to date and got married.
We inquired details and connected each story to evidence carefully after verifying if there was any evidence. As a result, Ms. A succeeded in changing her visa from a student visa to a spouse visa, and now they happily live in Osaka with a baby.
Generally, it is difficult to know what can be evidence to prove that the relationship is not fake.
In our experience, sometime we find unexpected document that can prove the substance of their marriage while we inquire details. Moreover, like some of the cases we dealt with, even if there are not much direct evidence, substance of relationship can be proved by building up indirect evidence regardless of short length of relationship.
If you are worried about the shortness of the dating period while you wish to apply for a spouse visa, please feel free to use our free consultation.
Towards obtaining permission for a spouse visa, let’s look for materials that help application together!