Contradictions in the interview for an Israeli joint-life application
Contradictions in the interview at Misrad Hapnim (Israeli Ministry of Interior) are the main reason for the rejection of requests for family unification and cohabitation in Israel. Any citizen of Israel who wishes to invite a foreign spouse into Israel must submit a request at the Ministry of the Interior, department of immigration. The documents required to open a joint-life application are submitted at the Population and Immigration Authority’s office which is closest to the offical place of residence of the Israeli. After the foreign citizen spouse arrives in Israel, the couple is interviewed by Interior Ministry officials. They are asked the same questions, each separately, and their answers are compared. The purpose of the interview is to examine the “sincerity” of the relationship and to decide whether the spouse should be allowed to obtain legal status in Israel.
Our law office specializes in immigration and visa acquisition in Israel. In this article, attorney Joshua Pex, a partner in our firm, will explain why the Ministry of Interior checks for contradictions in the interview, and which contradictions can cause a rejection of a request for status in Israel.
What is the purpose of the interview?
Bluntly – to find out whether the marriage or relationship is fictitious. According to the Population Authority, about 10% of joint-life applications between Israeli and foreign citizens are false. The foreign citizen deceives or pays the Israeli in order to obtain legal status in Israel.
The purpose of the interview, therefore, is to review the whole history of the relationship. How the couple met, how they fell in love, how “sincere” are their feelings and their relationship.
What contradictions in the interview do the officials look for?
Naturally, it’s hard to evaluate whether someone is telling the truth when asked “Do you love each other?”. Arguments based on social consensus – “A beautiful young woman cannot really fall in love with a rich old man” – are neither objective nor legally valid. Therefore, officials seek contradictions in the interview that can be objectively proven, and which arguably accumulate to prove that the couple don’t really know each other, so there is reasonable suspicion that the relationship is not real and sincere.
Some common questions are: How old is each partner? What course have their life taken to this day? Were they married in the past? How many family members, children, brothers and sisters does each spouse have? How old are said family members, and what do they do for a living?
“Substantive” questions and searching for contradictions in the interview:
Substantive questions deal with the couple’s shared life. Details about their courtship, cohabitation, and so forth. If the couple was sincere about how they’ve met and their life together, they can easily give the same answers to questions like: “Where was your first date,” “Which restaurant do you like to visit,” “What did you eat yesterday,” and even “Do you know what you’re going to call your children?”
So what should I do if I don’t know the answer to these questions?
First of all – don’t try to guess. If you don’t know what your spouse’s ex-husband’s step-grandmother does for a living, feel free to answer: “I don’t know”, or “I don’t remember”. Ministry of Interior officials may dislike your lack of interest in what they consider to be important information. But it’s much better to show a lack of interest than to contradict your spouse’s answer. Israeli MoI officials may treat any mistake or guess as resulting from malicious intent, a deliberate lie aimed to mislead them, or unequivocal proof that the relationship is not real. This may result in the rejection of your application on the grounds that the relationship is not real.
Even more importantly, avoid contradictions. Any “change of version” or recall of different details about the relationship that you have not mentioned before may be considered suspect. This is especially the case when it come to details about money or support of the spouse.
So how do you successfully get through the interview without contradictions?
No one can help the couple pass their interview successfully, except for the couple themselves. Spouses who really live together and have a common life will usually succeed in proving that their relationship is genuine to the satisfaction of Ministry of Interior officials, unless one or both partners have faulty memory or are too confused and anxious to answer properly. Interior Ministry officials usually do not intend to entrap the couple and most questions should be easy to answer for couples living in a common household.
However, it does not hurt to prepare for an interview in advance and go through a list of questions that are frequently asked in interviews of this type. It is important to remember that MoI officials are allowed to ask any question that comes to mind, within the limits of the law. If the couple feels that the questions are unreasonable, or a blatant violation of their privacy, they have the right not to answer the question, and bring the fact to the attention of the Ministry of Interior clerk.
Contact our legal experts in immigration to Israel
Our law firm specializes in helping Israeli citizens with visa applications to the Ministry of the Interior. If you wish to invite a spouse to Israel, or if your request ran into difficulties, we will be happy to assist you. Contact our law office in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem for advice and legal assistance.