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If the wedding bells you rang don't sit well with the government

When you were planning your wedding, you may have been both excited and nervous at the same time. Given the fact that you were planning to leave your country of origin and come to Texas, you may have had a thousand questions about your soon-to-be new life in the United States. Although you were likely thankful that marring a U.S. citizen would also be a valid means of obtaining a green card, you might have anticipated that there would be challenges in the process.

Fast forward to recent events when you received notice requesting your presence at a Stokes interview. You may not have ever heard the term before and likely grew immediately concerned. After all, stories abound of status problems among immigrants throughout the country.

What is a Stokes interview, anyway?

If you were seeing the term "Stokes interview" for the first time, you are definitely not alone in your confusion; many people (even U.S. citizens) are completely unaware of what a Stokes interview is and what one might expect if called to appear at one. The following list of information helps explain it:

  • When you and your spouse interviewed to obtain your green card, if an official did not believe your story, and thought your relationship might be fraudulent, you may have to appear at a Stokes interview.
  • This is a secondary interview. Its purpose is to give you an opportunity (along with your spouse) to prove that your marriage is not a fraud. 
  • If you are unable to convince immigration officials that your marital relationship is sincere, you may be subject to removal. 
  • Government officials will likely ask you to bring several types of documents with you to your Stokes interview, including your marriage certificate, bank account information and even photo albums or pictures of you and your spouse.
  • A Stokes interviewer will ask you and your spouse some very personal questions. A portion of the interview may include you and your spouse while you're in the same room; officials may later separate you to ask each of you questions without the presence of the other.
  • Questions may cover a wide variety of topics, including seemingly unimportant information, such as what time you went to bed the night before, what your spouse likes to eat for breakfast or what your favorite color is.

The purpose of the questions is to see how well you and your spouse seem to know one another. If your answers do not coincide, the interviewer may not be convinced of the sincerity of your marriage. If you do not meet the requirements of your Stokes interview, you may not be eligible for an adjustment of status. Knowing where to seek support in such circumstances may be crucial to avoiding deportation.

Such situations can lead to a whole host of challenges. A Texas immigration and naturalization law attorney would be able to provide guidance and representation for you in court, if needed.

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