“Stokes” derives its name from a Federal District Court decision, Stokes v. INS and refers to an interview process whereby both spouses of the marriage based green card application are interviewed separately by an immigration officer to determine if the marriage was entered in good faith. While some jurisdictions follow ‘Stokes’ for all marriage based green card application filed within its jurisdiction, others follow ‘Stokes’ as a second interview if the officer, during the initial interview, is not satisfied about the bona fide of the marriage.
How does the Stokes Interview work?
As described above, the Stokes Interview follows procedure set by the government following the Federal District Court decision. During the Stokes Interview the couple are separated from one another (their immigration attorney is allowed to be present) and are questioned individually and together by an immigration officer (IO). Each interview is recorded and the IO cross references the responses of each couple. The line of questioning is often invasive and may take several hours. After the interview, the couple is given the opportunity to explain any variations in their spouse’s answers. Although the process is time consuming, the interview is most effective if both spouses give as many honest details as possible. The more transparent a spouse is during the interview, the better chance of a positive outcome. If the couple’s answers match, the IO will approve the case. However, if the IO is not satisfied by the interview, they can deny the case.
What types of questions are asked?
Each individual interview varies depending on the circumstances of the case. One IO may have an entirely different line of questioning than one of their colleagues. Remember to be as honest as possible during the interview. Here are a few general examples of the Stokes Interview questions that may be asked about you or your spouse:
- How did you meet?
- How many doors are in your house?
- Who gets up first? At what time?
- What television shows do you watch?
- What did you do after dinner last night?
What should you do before the interview?
To make the experience easy on both you and your spouse, make sure to be prepared. It is important for you to bring any proof of the span of your relationship, from photos to joint bank statements. It may be helpful to talk with your spouse before the interview to ensure you are both prepared to recall memories and information from years past. Also, your immigration attorney would be able to assist you prepare for the interview by conducting mock interview sessions.
Immigration Law is one of the most unpredictable and complicated areas of laws with frequent unannounced changes. As one of top rated law firms, we closely monitor any changes that effects our clients. It is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney before filing for any immigration benefit. You are welcome to schedule a consultation with Sharma Law Offices to discuss your marriage based green card.