What You Should Know About a Stokes Interview

Are you having any challenges preparing for your stokes interview? Contact Manji Law, P.C for guidance. We can walk you through the preparation. Call us today.

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Atlanta Immigration Attorney Jameel Manji

Author: Jameel Manji, Founder, Manji Law, P.C.

Mr. Manji founded Manji Law in 2016 to follow his passion of helping people navigate the complicated immigration system. Mr. Manji graduated from Georgia State University College of Law and received Master of Taxation from the Georgia State’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Published on: October 02, 2023.

Manji Law is your complete immigration solution. If you are seeking assistance with the Atlanta Immigration Court, please give us a call. Manji Law can provide valuable insight, assistance, and a guiding hand to help you achieve your goals.

What Is a Stokes Interview?

You may be excited after you and your partner get called for a green card interview. After the long wait, your spouse is finally a few steps away from getting their green card. A green card means that they can permanently live with you in the United States. However, after the first interview, you get a notice inviting both of you for a stokes interview. You may wonder what it is and why you have to attend a second interview. 

Stokes interviews give couples a second chance to prove their marriage is genuine. They are scheduled when a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer doubts your marriage’s authenticity. A Stokes interview (marriage fraud interview) will question the validity of your marriage. This ensures immigration officers that your marriage is not solely to get a green card.

Are you wondering how long it will take to bring a spouse to the U.S.? Do you think a Stokes interview will affect your opportunity to reunite with your spouse? Read on to learn more about Stokes interviews and how to avoid common mistakes.

Reasons for Getting Invited to a Stokes Interview

There are several reasons why you might be invited for a Stokes interview. Some common reasons include:

  • Getting married after your spouse received a removal order

  • Giving contradictory responses at your first interview

  • Submitting a suspicious document with your application

  • The huge age gap between you and your spouse

  • You and your partner do not speak the same language

  • You have different religious beliefs

  • Your marriage history

  • You have incompatible lifestyles

The Stokes Interview Process

During stokes interviews, immigration officers hold joint and separate interviews with the couples. They usually ask couples similar questions at separate interviews. They will look for inconsistencies in your responses that confirm their suspicion of marriage fraud. You and your immigrant spouse must prove your marriage is bonafide through your responses.

The length of time you spend at a Stokes interview will depend on how complex your situation is. However, they usually last for several hours. It is important to provide honest responses and remain calm throughout the interview. You can also have a top-rated immigration attorney present during the interview.

If your spouse is not fluent in English, they can bring an interpreter. The USCIS officer may think the applicant is hiding information if they do not understand their responses, resulting in the denial of their green card application.

 

Documents Required When Attending a Stokes Interview

You will need to have the following documents with you when attending a Stokes interview

  • Government-issued photo identification, e.g., passport, driver’s license

  • Proof of your U.S. citizenship or lawful permanent residence

  • Marriage certificate

  • Passport photographs of both parties

  • Proof of your employment and income (e.g., employment letter, bank statement)

  • Proof of immigrant spouse visa (if they are resident in the U.S.)

  • Evidence of joint finances (e.g., joint bank statements, tax returns or assets)

  • Photographs of the couple together (e.g., trips, your wedding)

  • Proof of joint residence

What Happens After a Stokes Interview?

After a Stokes interview, the USCIS will compare the couple’s responses and the evidence provided. They may also ask for clarification on any inconsistencies with your responses. Generally, a Stokes interview may result in the following outcomes:

  • Approval: If the immigration officer believes your marriage is valid, they will approve your application. They will inform you at the interview that your application has been approved. Immigrant spouses in marriages less than two years receive a conditional residence card.
  • Request for Evidence (RFE): The officer may request that you provide additional documents. You must provide the necessary documents as soon as possible to avoid delays.
  • Additional review: The officer may inform you that your case needs further review. In such cases, you must wait until the USCIS notifies you about their decision.
  • Denial: The officer will inform you that your application has been denied. You may be able to appeal the USCIS’s decision.

What Happens if You Fail Your Stokes Interview?

Fraudulently seeking immigration benefits is grounds for inadmissibility under U.S. immigration law. USCIS will deny your spouse’s green card if they believe your marriage to be fraudulent. Other consequences may apply to both of you as a couple if you fraudulently seek immigration benefits. First of all, your spouse may be placed in removal proceedings (deportation).

If you are a green card holder, USCIS can revoke your card and deport you. Your partner may also receive a ban from re-entering the U.S. unless they are eligible for a waiver. Inadmissibility also makes them ineligible to apply for a green card in the future. Even if they re-apply, the notes from the failed Stokes interview will be available to the USCIS officer during the following interview.

Providing false documents or otherwise trying to deceive USCIS in your application for adjustment of status through marriage is an offense that is punishable by law. Providing false documents with your adjustment of status through marriage application is an offense that is punishable by law. It can result in fraud charges or perjury charges. The judge can impose a maximum five-year prison sentence as well as a fine not exceeding $250,000. Additionally, a conviction will result in a criminal record that could negatively affect your job prospects, housing opportunities, and ability to obtain a professional license.

Examples of Stokes Interview Questions

Stokes interviews are very thorough and require appropriate preparation. Couples need to provide consistent responses when the immigration officer asks them questions. Interview questions usually revolve around the couple’s relationship. They may include questions about activities that the couple participates in regularly.

Some common questions the immigration officer may ask at the interview include:

  • How did you and your spouse meet?

  • How does your spouse get to work?

  • What time does your spouse go to bed?

  • Where did you get married?

  • When did you start dating?

  • When is your spouse’s birthday?

  • Where do you and your spouse live?

  • Who pays the electricity bills?

  • Who wakes up first?

  • What restaurant did you both last visit?

  • What does your spouse do on a weekend?

Consult With An Experienced Immigration Lawyer at Manji Law

Family-based adjustment of status applications can be challenging to navigate, especially spousal green cards. The USCIS is tougher on marriage applications and will scrutinize your application to check for fraud. 

Getting a denial at your Stokes interview can lead to the separation of you and your spouse. It can also affect their future chances of getting a green card. For this reason, hiring a knowledgeable immigration attorney is essential.

At Manji Law P.C., we understand the complexities of these interviews. We can provide legal advice and help you prepare for your interview. Our attorneys can collect the documents you need for the interview. We can also attend the interview and ensure that your rights are protected.

Contact our office today if you have questions about the Stokes interview and how to avoid a denial.