If you are an immigrant who is married to an American citizen or a citizen whose spouse immigrated to the United States, if the noncitizen spouse is attempting to obtain permanent residency status, i.e., a “green card,” at some point you might be faced with a Stokes interview.
It is very important to pass your Stokes interview because this is a secondary and much more thorough interview than the initial interview. In fact, it is likely that some questions that were answered during the first interview triggered this far more intensive scrutiny. Below are some tips for passing a Stokes interview.
Practice answering questions
Your attorney can provide you with a list of some of the dozens of questions asked in Stokes interviews. Be aware these questions can get very granular. The interviewer may ask questions about topics that you or your spouse might not be comfortable discussing. Try to remain as calm and poised as possible, regardless.
People in legitimate marriages might not know all the answers to questions that are asked. This is particularly true if the immigrant spouse has little knowledge of the couple’s finances. If you are asked something that you don’t know, e.g., “What is the total balance on your credit cards,” state that you do not know because your spouse takes care of the finances. Don’t simply make up a number that is guaranteed not to be the same answer your spouse gives.
Don’t go to the interview unrepresented by counsel
Some people get so nervous at the mere thought of their Stokes interview that their minds go blank or they blurt out whatever they think the interviewer wants to hear. Your immigration attorney can help straighten out any discrepancies and perhaps rehabilitate an interview that is heading south fast.