When assessing whether a marriage was entered into against the wishes of one or both of the spouses, the Immigration Service will evaluate all relevant information in the case.
If the spouses are closely related (e.g. cousins), the Immigration Service will normally assume that they did not marry of their own free will. As a result, such applications will usually be turned down.
If there are previous examples of spouse reunification within the spouses’ closest families, this is a circumstance which may indicate that the marriage is forced.
In addition, the Immigration Service will pay particular attention to:
Circumstances surrounding the wedding and the spouses' personal contact and relationship prior to the marriage
The age of the spouses
The duration of the marriage
The spouses' contact and relationship with their prospective families-in-law prior to the marriage
The spouses' personal situations, including financial situation and professional and educational backgrounds
Information about any contact that may have been made by either spouse to a crisis or counselling centre
Also taken into consideration will be whether the spouses' families have been actively involved in arranging the marriage. However, a marriage will not automatically be characterised as 'forced' simply because it occurs with the co-operation of the two respective families.
If, when receiving the application, the diplomatic mission becomes suspicious that a marriage may have been forced, the applicant will be interviewed by the diplomatic mission about the circumstances of the marriage.
The final ruling will be made by the Immigration Service on the basis of all available information in the case.