Stokes Interview

Can an immigration officer ask questions that are too personal?

An IO is not supposed to ask embarrassing questions, but some may get pretty close. From the sample questions above, however, it is clear that an immigration officer has plenty of options.

What if I don't remember some details during a stokes interview?

Say you don't remember. It is much better than trying to come up with an answer and then have to explain why you did that. Remember the officers conducting stoke interviews likely have questioned thousands of couples before, so telling the truth is always better than making something up.

How should I prepare for a stokes interview?

Gather all supporting documents that demonstrate the bona fide nature of your marriage, including the ones you used in prior interviews or petitions. If you were questioned extensively on a particular subject during the joint interview, try your best to enhance your supporting evidence in that area.

Discuss some details with your spouse that may come up during the interview. Look around your house more closely. Dress appropriately and comfortably in anticipation of a long day.

If you have an attorney, talk to him/her about things you need to pay special attention to.

A stokes interview is critical in your green card application, and you want to well prepared. But you can't possibly predict and be ready for every question. So try to stay calm, answer all questions truthfully, and do your best.

What may come out of a stokes interview?

At the end of a stokes interview, you and your spouse will be called into an office again. If there are discrepancies in your statements during the interview, this will be the chance for you to explain why. If your clarification, your overall interview answers, and the supporting documents are sufficient to convince the immigration officer that your marriage is bona fide, your green card petition will be approved. You will receive a letter welcoming you as a new permanent resident, and then the green card in the mail a few weeks later.

If, however, the immigration officer is convinced that your marriage is not real, he or she may deny your petition on the spot. You will be given a chance to appeal the IO's decision, and it is best to consult an immigration attorney under such circumstances.

Often you will not receive a decision immediately after the stokes interview. In this case you have to go back to the waiting game again.

Should I bring an immigration attorney to a stokes interview?

Your lawyer is allowed to accompany you to the interview, and his/her presence may help during the process. If your case is rather complicated and you can afford one, do consider bringing an attorney to your stokes interview.

Where did the name come from, anyway?

"Stokes Interview" was originally named after a law suit, and we are pretty certain it was this one: Stokes v. Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS), S.D.N.Y. 1975. Note that U.S. immigration agencies may refer to such interviews as "marriage fraud interviews" or simply "interviews."

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