What to expect at the Stokes Interview
What Is The Stokes Interview?
When a husband and wife did not convince an immigration officer that their marriage was real at their first green card interview (adjustment of status interview) they usually get a second chance. This second chance is known as the Stokes interview (also Known as the marriage fraud interview). The name Stokes Interview comes from the names of two of the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against the government that created the framework for the interview. At the Stokes Interview the immigration officer is there to determine if the marriage is bona fide or fraudulent.
What Happens At The Stokes Interview?
The immigration officer will bring the couple in to his or her office and may discuss why they believe the first interview didn't go well. The immigration officer will go over the procedures of the interview and then will separate the husband and the wife from each other. Once separated the immigration officer will ask very personal and invasive questions to one of the married couple and then the other. The interview will be recorded and the statements will be compared for discrepancies against each other. The immigration officer will then bring the couple in together and give them a chance to explain any discrepancies. It is the couple's job to explain the details of their life and convince the immigration officer of their genuine relationship. If the couple's answers matched and convinced the immigration officer of their relationship then their case will be approved. However, if the immigration officer is not convinced and has reasons to believe the marriage was created for the purpose of getting a green card, the immigration officer will deny the case.
How Long Does The Stokes Interview Take?
The Stokes interview can take several hours as the immigration officer will question each of the couple separately in detail and will also question the couple together. It's best to answer the questions honestly and as openly as you can.
What Questions Are Asked At The Stokes Interview?
Every case is different and every immigration officer has a different style so there is no exact set of questions that are asked at every interview. However below is a list of some of the common questions:
- How did you meet?
- Where did you go out on your first date?
- How many bedrooms do you have in your home?
- Who cleans the house?
- What days is the garbage picked up?
- Who pays the bills?
- Do you pay bills online or write checks?
- How many windows do you have in your house?
- What type of curtains or window coverings are in your living room? What color?
- Who gets up first? At what time?
- Who sets the alarm clock to get up in the morning?
- What do you eat for breakfast?
- How many doors are in your house?
- How many staircases are in your house?
- Is there a carpet in your front hallway? What color?
- Describe the entry into your house?
- Do you have any pets? Who feeds it? Who walks it?
- How many showers, sinks, toilets, and are there in your house?
- What kind of sofa do you have in your living room?
- Where did you get your furniture?
- How many Televisions do you have in your house?
- How many cars do you have?
- How many telephones are in your house?
- Do you have an answering machine? Who checks the messages?
- Do you have family cell phone plans?
- Do you have a DVD player? What kind is it?
- Do you record any Television shows?
- How many computers/laptops do you have?
- Who is your cable/internet/phone provider?
- What Television shows do you watch?
- What music do you listen to? How do you listen to music?
- What type of camera do you have?
- Who shops for groceries? How often? Where?
- What color is the kitchen curtains?
- What kind of appliances do you have in your kitchen?
- Who makes breakfast?
- What does your spouse drink in the morning?
- What is your spouse's favorite food?
- What are your least favorite foods?
- How often do you eat out?
- Where do you go out to eat?
- Where is the garbage in the kitchen?
- What size bed do you have?
- What kind of mattress do you have?
- Which side of the bed do you sleep on?
- Do you read or watch Television before you go to sleep?
- Do you have lamps next to your bed?
- What kind of birth control do you use?
- When was your wife's last menstrual period?
- How many windows are in your bedroom?
- Where do you keep your toothbrushes?
- What kind of toothpaste, shampoo and soap do you use?
- Where do you keep your clothes?
- Where do you put your dirty clothes?
- Who does the laundry?
- When did you eat dinner last night?
- What did you do after dinner last night?
- What did you have for breakfast this morning?
- How did you get to the interview today?
- What time did you go to sleep last night?
- Who went to sleep first last night?
- Did you have the air conditioner, fan or heater on?
- Who woke up first this morning?
- Did you shower this morning?
What If You Don't Remember Some Details During The Stokes Interview?
If you don't remember some detail asked of you it's better to say you don't remember than to try to make up an answer. If you tell the truth you cannot get caught up in a lie.
How To Prepare For The Stokes Interview?
The couple must bring all their original documentation such as their marriage certificate, birth certificates, passports, visa, entry records. The couple must also bring all their supporting evidence that shows that they are a real couple, for example the couples joint bank account statements, joint insurance statements, proof of joint assets, proof of joint liabilities, joint bills and separate bills going to the same residence, joint residential leases, photo albums, affidavits from friends and colleagues that have knowledge of the relationship and any other proof of your bona fide marriage. Bring the above evidence that spans the relationship together and it's a good idea to have the evidence organized and easily available to give to the immigration officer. Don't forget to also have an extra copy of all the evidence you submit to keep for your records as you may need it again.
It's always a good idea to consult with a qualified immigration attorney in preparing for the Stokes interview and we urge you to do so. An attorney can review the documents before you go to the interview and can also have you do a mock interview, to get the feel of the interview process and possible questions. We urge you to have a qualified immigration attorney accompany you into the Stokes interview as they may help through the process. Before you go to the Stokes interview pay attention to the little details of your household, you and your spouse's daily routines and discuss with your spouse memories of your relationship from the time it started until the present. It may be a good idea to add details that only you and your spouse would know when answering the immigration officer's questions, as this may show that you are a genuine couple. Stay calm and answer the immigration officer as openly and honestly as you can. Good Luck!