The rules for family immigration are meant to protect genuine family life. A marriage that is primarily entered into in order for the applicant to be granted a residence permit in Norway is called a marriage of convenience, or a pro forma marriage. The term pro forma is Latin and means ‘for the sake of appearances’. Such marriages do not form the basis for family immigration to Norway.
How does the Directorate of Immigration (UDI) decide whether a marriage is a marriage of convenience?
The immigration authorities have an important task in uncovering and preventing abuse of the Immigration Regulations. To be able to decide whether a marriage is a marriage of convenience, the immigration authorities carry out an overall assessment of the application.
In most cases, we interview both the applicant and the person living in Norway to find out whether the marriage is genuine.
In addition, we look at factors such as the age difference between the parties, the contact between the parties, whether the parties provide concurring information about how the marriage was entered into and the subsequent contact between them, whether the parties have a common language, whether the marriage is atypical in relation to marriage traditions in the parties' home countries, and whether the marriage was entered into following the rejection of one of the parties’ application for a work or residence permit.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion has given the UDI instructions containing elements that can indicate that the marriage is a marriage of convenience (Norwegian language only).
What are the consequences of entering into a marriage of convenience?
If we find that the marriage is a marriage of convenience, we will reject the application for a residence permit. The applicant will not be entitled to live and work in Norway. A marriage of convenience is a serious violation of the Immigration Act that may lead to criminal prosecution. The applicant can also be permanently expelled from the whole Schengen area.
A marriage of convenience is also an offence for the party living in Norway, and Norwegian spouses can be sentenced to imprisonment for entering into marriages of convenience.