A Stokes Interview in a marriage based green card application process is referring to an interview when the husband and wife are questioned separately, and their answers are compared by an immigration officer to determine whether the marriage was entered into in good faith. A stokes interview (also known as "marriage fraud interview") is usually a second interview, after the first one when the husband and wife were interviewed together raised some questions about the bona fide of their marriage.
When an individual sponsors his or her spouse for U.S. permanent residence, they must collectively demonstrate to an USCIS official that their marriage was entered in good faith, and not for the purpose of evading immigration law. They must provide sufficient documents, and go through an interview at a USCIS office where they will answer questions in front of an immigration officer (IO) about their marriage and life together. This first interview usually lasts about 1 -2 hours, and the questions are generally not intrusive.
However, if the IO conducting the first interview is not entirely satisfied and still has questions about the marriage, he/she will schedule a secondary interview known as the "Stokes Interview." During a stokes interview the husband and wife are separated from each other and must answer a series of questions that are rather personal and invasive. The interview will be taped and their statements will be compared against each other. If their answers match very well it is a good indication that the marital relationship is genuine. If not, the couple will be given a chance to explain the discrepancies.
At the conclusion of the stokes interview if the IO is still not convinced, and still has reasons to believe the marriage was created for the purpose of obtaining immigration benefit, he or she will deny the adjustment of status (AOS) petition.
A stokes interview can easily last several hours, depending on the IO, the complexity of the situation and the schedule. Because a stokes interview happens only after the IO already has some doubt about the bona fide of the marriage, expect a long, exhausting and definitely unpleasant experience.
However, don't be scared. Answer the questions truthfully and to your best knowledge. You simply can not guess every question that will be asked, so the best approach is to stay calm and answer the questions honestly.
Put yourself in the shoes of an immigration officer, and imagine how you can figure out whether the couple is really married or just pretends to be married for the purpose of getting a greed card. Those are the questions you should expect during a stokes interview.
Although interview questions vary from case to case, they are generally in the following categories: