If you or your spouse is an immigrant by marriage, you’ve probably heard of the Stokes interview and why some people get selected for it. In today’s post, immigration law firm The Costas Network Law Center explains what the Stokes interview is for, why one might get selected for it, and what you should bring to the interview in case you get selected.
The Stokes interview is a secondary interview conducted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on couples who are applying for an immigration Green Card on the basis of marriage. It may be required if the immigration officer or interviewer suspects that the marriage was solely for the purpose of obtaining a green card — as opposed to being just a plain case of love across borders. The Stokes interview offers a second chance for the couple to prove that they married for the right reasons.
A USCIS officer doesn’t just arbitrarily select persons for the Stokes interview. Rather, it could be for one or more of the following reasons:
Previous visa applications — If you or your spouse had previously applied for a visa, be it a K-1 or an employment visa, it will be taken into consideration.
Financial commingling — While not a requirement, spouses typically commingle their finances, and not doing so can be considered by the USCIS as a higher risk of marriage fraud.
Tax filing status — You might be selected for a Stokes interview if you and your spouse do not file your taxes jointly.
Living arrangement — You and your spouse should either live together or have a good reason not to, otherwise, it raises a red flag with the USCIS.
Mismatched interview answers — Initial interviews are conducted separately, and contradicting answers increase the likelihood of being asked to attend a Stokes interview.
If you are selected for a Stokes interview, you will receive a written notice, a list of your rights, and an appointment letter with a list of documentary requirements. The citizen spouse will be asked to bring photo identification, proof of citizenship, while the immigrant spouse will need to provide their passport. One or both may be asked to bring their marriage certificate, bank account information, tax returns, and even photo albums.
The Costas Network Law Center offers assistance with legal matters concerning immigration, including obtaining visas for temporary workers. Call (216) 616-3103 (Ohio) or (346) 818-2726 (Texas) for a free initial phone consultation or email email@example.com.