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Marriage-based immigration: Is a Stokes interview in your future?

Any person who has emigrated from another country to live and work in New York can no doubt relate to various challenges and obstacles that many immigrants say they've encountered when navigating similar processes. If anything can cause stress levels to soar, it is having the U.S. government call a marriage-based immigration situation into question. If that happens, a Stokes interview will likely occur at some point.

Knowing what to expect ahead of time, what to do and not do during an official immigration interview, and how to protect personal rights can help those being interviewed avoid serious problems. The purpose of a Stokes interview is to give immigration officials an opportunity to question both U.S. citizens and their non-citizen spouses to determine whether their marital relationships are legitimate or were affected as means to obtain immigration visas. There are several things spouses can do to increase their chances of obtaining a positive outcome.

It's important to arrive for the interview on time. Tardiness may be seen as nonchalance, which is not likely to be viewed favorably by interviewers. Those being interviewed will also want to come prepared, bringing any and all pertinent documents and evidence that can help convince immigration officials that a marriage is legitimate. This might include photo albums, bank statements or even personal correspondence, such as birthday cards or letters shared between spouses.

It's never a good idea to joke around during a Stokes interview. Spouses also want to avoid arguing in the presence of immigration officials. Also, never contradict or act aggressively toward an Immigration and Customs Enforcement official. Many New York couples reach out for experienced legal guidance before attending marriage-based immigration interviews.

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