Some facts about us and our marriage and background:
- We did the bare ass minimum to get married in California. We married in a Santa Clara county government chapel with the officiator (a black lady wearing an Obama lapel) and the clerk recorder herself as a witness. So that would be 4 people in the room -- one of them taking photos and doing paperwork -- and you see my timeline.
That's funny how you can only remember the officator as "the black lady wearing an Obama lapel".....we too can't remember the name of ours.....and I guess one would recall if it were a clergy member one specifically picked out for the occasion....but oh well. There are more important things in life than remembering who married you
- I could have invited my friends and family, well, the ones who could make it on such short notice, but I didn't think it would be fair at all to my wife's family, which is why it's going to be this next summer, well, the unofficial one.
I'm so happy that you noted why you did not have any guests, and am so with you on this - that it's not fair to one spouse if the other has guests from his or her side present but the other spouse has no one. I think it's better to just have no guests than to have a situation where it is not representative of your relationship. And really - a marriage is, when you get down to it, the two people in it, and no one else.
- I'm 8 years older than my wife. Granted we're not that apart in age but there's a noticeable difference.
- She is Chinese (only by looks, through and through an extremely smart Canadian nurse), I'm a blue-green eyed French/German male. Her family speaks quite a different background of languages, from English to French to Mandarin to Lao to Taiwanese. I only speak some English, French, Spanish and German. We have a very different ethnic background but if you ever talked to her, she has no accent, very smart, very opinionated, and she acts as any other Canadian does.
Believe me, the age difference rings nary an alarm bell for the folks at Buffalo. If you were a Canadian woman sponsoring a husband 8 years younger than you from a red-flagged country (Morocco, let's say....), okay.....but even that's not a deal-breaker for them; they'll move on to looking at other factors.
- Some of the evidence we provided were pictures, including ultrasound images of our baby, cropped onto pieces of regular printer paper at a medium resolution to save cost of ink on photo paper. These are pretty easy to doctor given the crummy ink/paper used.
- Some other evidence we provided were phone call logs, skype history, Facebook messages on each others wall which included showing when the marriage was and family's surprise as we moved the date closer from December to October. These could have easily been doctored as well.
Technically, CIC has this legal precedent where they determined that, "the birth of a child does not necessarily prove the genuineness of a marriage. However, it is strong evidence deserving of weight." In the case of an American citizen having a child with a Canadian citizen, it's a whole lot more weight than for someone from a country known for cases where people try to come in under pretenses that violate the Immigration Act
Without a doubt the Canadian government is biased depending on which country the applicant/ spouse sponsored is from. Someone who was trying to buy their way into Canada from the states (i.e committing immigrant fraud), it's easily within the window of likelihood one would certainly have the money to throw at a lavish ceremony. I don't see wedding size having much bearing as a litmus test of marriage validity. For other countries that are more high risk of fraud, without a doubt, it's a different case.
Talking to the Buffalo VO employees, the CBSA, CIC, and also just a general understanding of immigrant law, as a couple trying to prove a marriage is genuine, if you have a copy of your marriage license performed in either Canada or the U.S. (<- obviously the single biggest piece of verifiable evidence and requirement), have a couple pictures showing you together, a couple supporting documents like phone calls, there really isn't much reason for them to deny you. Provided one doesn't have a complicated marriage and criminal background this should generally (<- this is my escape from the outliers/exceptions/unexplainable delays) be a really straight forward thing.
Indeed, for the first bit. Now this second paragraph, I'm not too sure about. There has been at least one person I know of (I want to say with Buffalo, but not sure) who kind of underestimated the importance of the evidence portion of the application, sent in their marriage license and that's it for that part, and then learned the hard way that that didn't constitute a convincing proof of genuine relationship. And I'm not sure that "a couple pictures" and "a couple supporting documents" is ideal either. But it's a given that Buffalo would be satisfied with a lot less evidence than some of the other VOs whose jurisdiction is in countries that people really want to get out of and they're willing to sucker a lonely Canadian lady or gentleman over the internet to do it. I mean we've had people with this visa office apply under common law and have a bit of a longer wait (chess and kerianne, I believe), presumably because CIC needed a bit more evidence, but when it comes to embassies such as Rabat, you better be married because that's the least of your evidence to convince CIC you are genuine.