The marriage immigration interview known as the Stokes interview
So you are sure you love each other and the marriage green card interview should be as easy as a walk in the park. Right? Some people fail to convince a USCIS officer at their first marriage immigration interview that they have a good faith marriage. The USCIS may subject the couple to a marriage fraud interview known as a Stokes interview at a later date. Alternatively, an immigration officer who suspects fraud in the marriage based green card application may interview you and your spouse separately at the first interview. A Stokes interview is a taped interview in which the USCIS interviews the married couple individually and compare their answers. The goal is to decide whether you have a good faith marriage or a marriage solely for getting a green card.
At the Stokes interview, you and your spouse will be sworn in and questioned separately. The examiner will compare your answers to the answers of your spouse and look for any discrepancies. If you give the same answers, you will pass. If you don’t, you will be allowed to explain any differences.
As you and your spouse are under oath, and the interview is taped, your answers must be truthful. Giving false testimony under oath will not just result in denial of your green card, but it is also a crime. You should not guess about what your spouse will say. If you do not know the answer or do not remember, it is better to say so and not guess or make things us.
What to bring
The petitioner must bring a United States passport or birth certificate (green card if the petitioner is a permanent resident) and a driver’s license. You must bring the original documents you brought to the first interview to the Stokes interview, including your marriage certificate and marriage termination documents for you and your spouse. Be sure to bring your passport, I-94, EAD and social security card if you have one. You should also bring any other documents to support the petition as the examiner should consider other evidence besides oral testimony. Examples of good faith marriage evidence include joint bank account statements, lease agreements, rent receipts, mortgage agreements, health insurance policies, utility bills, tax returns and pictures. You should also bring your last two pay stubs and statements and employment letters for both of you. Your spouse work letter should be on company letterhead signed by an official of the firms, stating when employment began, salary, dependents claimed and whom to notify in case of emergency.
Types of questions that may be asked
The Stokes interview is similar to the first green card marriage interview except that you and your spouse will be questioned separately. In the weeks before the interview you and your spouse should focus on communicating with each other and spending time together. Pay close attention to the minor details of your marriage.
Examples of the type of questions marriage immigration interview questions that may be asked at a Stokes interview are:
- How did you meet your spouse?
- When did you meet?
- How long did you know each other before you got married?
- Where did you go on your first date?
- Where did you and your spouse live before getting married?
- Who was at your wedding?
- Did you have a wedding reception?
- Describe or draw the lay out of your bedroom.
- How many TV’s do you have?
- What is the last movie you and your spouse saw together?
- Where did you go on your honeymoon?
- When was the first and last time you and your spouse were intimate?
- What type of contraceptive does your spouse use?
- Where did you and your spouse first live together after marriage?
- What side of the bed do you sleep on?
- What brand of cigarette does you spouse smoke?
- What is the color of the wall in your bedroom?
- Do you have lamps in the bedroom?
- What did you have for dinner last night?
- What is your spouse’ favorite food and drink?
- At which restaurant did you last have a meal together?
- What is the color of your spouses tooth-brush?
- What is the color of the living room carpet?
- How many brothers and sisters does your spouse have?
- What are the names of your spouse’s parents?
- What did you give your spouse as a birthday gift last year?
- What is your spouse’s date of birth?
- Is your spouse left-handed or right-handed?
- Has your spouse ever been arrested?
- Has your spouse met your mother?
- Do you pay the water bill separate from the rent?
- Did your spouse sleep at home last night?
As a general rule, you should listen carefully and only answer the questions that the interviewer directs to you. Remain calm and answer the questions truthfully. Do not argue with the examiner.
Finally, you have the right to bring an attorney and a translator with you to the interview. In fact you are strongly urged to bring an attorney to make sure that the questions asked are fair and legally relevant to the process. An attorney will also be able to raise objections with the examiner and/or examiner’s supervisor during or after the interview. Remember it is your responsibility to make sure that your attorney shows up on time as the absence of an attorney by itself is not generally good cause to postpone an interview.
Are you a United States citizen deciding to get married to a foreign national? For more guidance on marriage based green card interviews or marriage visa issues with an experienced immigration lawyer contact us at (702) 423-2721 to schedule an initial consultation.