Immigrants who enter the U.S. on a visa to marry a U.S. citizen often must prove to immigration officials that the intended marriage is not a sham or fraudulent in any way. Especially due to the increased attention that the federal government is paying to immigrants who are entering the country, legally or otherwise, you and your spouse should prepare yourselves for a so-called Stokes interview.
What is a Stokes Interview?
Immigration officials will schedule a Stokes interview for immigrants and their spouses if they have reason to believe that the marriage is simply a ploy to get the immigrant spouse a green card, legal permanent residency in the U.S. If the information that they receive during the interview indicates any signs of fraud, immigration officials can detain the spouse and place him or her in removal proceedings. In order to avoid this outcome, some preparation is highly recommended.
For example, immigration officials will expect you to furnish written documentation that points to the validity of your marriage. These documents, which should contain both spouses’ names, or at least the immigrant spouse’s name and the shared U.S. address, might include:
· Marriage license
· Federal and state income tax returns
· Bank account statements
· Utility bills
You also may want to bring personal or sentimental items that document your marriage. For instance, photo albums with pictures of both of you, along with your family members and friends, are good evidence of a bona fide marriage. Family videos or Facebook posts of you and your spouse attending various events also may be helpful.
Finally, you should expect that while both spouses may be present in the same room for at least a portion of the interview, immigration officials also may speak with each spouse separately for a portion of the interview. Therefore, you and your spouse will need to coordinate your answers to basic questions. They may ask each of you the color of your house, your address, where you shop, and your spouse’s favorite color.
If you or your family is facing a visa problem or another type of immigration law issue, we may be able to help. As experienced Texas immigration attorneys, we have the knowledge needed to help you navigate through the often-complex process of immigration proceedings. Call us today at (512) 359-3362 and schedule an appointment with one of our immigration lawyers and learn how we can assist you.