#USImmigrationLaw: 5 Tips for Your Stokes Interview

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By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on April 18, 2016 11:02 AM

When you and your spouse go to a Stokes interview, be prepared to answer many detailed and difficult questions about your lives together, separately. Even couples who truly love each other can get very nervous about this kind of interview, and for good reason.

A Stokes interview is when you and your spouse are separately questioned by an immigration officer about all aspects of your marriage to prove that it is not a fraud. You will be notified in advance of the interview and informed of any documentation to bring. Here are five tips on how to prepare and handle it.

Five Stokes Tips

Couples with unusual arrangements can pass a Stokes interview -- the point is not to prove that you are typical but to see whether you have much (or any of the) indicators of married couples. Not all of that is practical stuff, but your preparation will involve a growing awareness of the details of your married life.

You show a bona fide or true marriage by knowing your spouse, and that is possible through observation. So start watching.

  1. Pay attention to patterns: What time does your spouse leave for work and return? Who typically makes dinner? What do your weeks look like?
  2. Prepare for some discomfort: Officers have the right to ask questions very broadly, so long before you go, work on staying cool about the intrusions. They will typically ask about events like holidays and birthdays and details of what happened and who was around. Your job is to know everything from your spouse's typical television viewing habits to where their mom lives.
  3. Know your finances: Be familiar with family bank accounts and bill paying schedules. Know your service provider's names and when or if you were added to an account or if it's that of your spouse. Do you two write checks or pay bills online?
  4. Get nostalgic: Collect the evidence of time spent together -- photos, ticket stubs, that kind of stuff. Anything you would put in a scrapbook is what you need now for your Stokes interview.
  5. Long talks will help: Have a long talk with your spouse before the interview, as often as possible. Ask each other questions. Use this time to discover more about each other and you will be fine.

Stokes interviews are difficult to prepare for in part because that is the point. You are just supposed to know things about the person you pledged your life to and how you live together. So start studying your lives!

Talk to a Lawyer

If you have a Stokes interview or any other immigration issue, talk to a lawyer. An attorney can guide your preparation and accompany you to interviews. Many lawyers consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to discuss your situation.

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