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Has the government stoked an interest in your marriage?

If someone in Kentucky (or anywhere, for that matter) were to ask you why you married your spouse, you may have many different answers. Perhaps it was the way he or she made you feel comfortable, like you could be yourself and not worry about impressions. Maybe it was a great sense of humor, compassionate heart or strong work ethic that attracted you, or any combination of these or other attributes. What if an official immigration officer suspects that the only reason you got married was to obtain a green card?

While that may sound shocking and offensive to you, there are people who do such things -- fraudulently marry others for the purpose of adjusting their statuses. So, how are you to convince the United States government that you are not one of those people?

Pass your Stokes interview with flying colors

If things didn't pan out so well in your initial interview to apply for your green card after getting married, a notice may arrive in your mail, requesting your presence at a Stokes interview. Here, you and your spouse will receive the opportunity to convince your interviewer that your marriage is sincere. Given the fact that failing this interview can make you ineligible for a green card (and, perhaps subject to deportation), you will want to learn all you can ahead of time about the Stokes interview process. The following information might help:

  • When you attend a Stokes interview, you and your spouse may be in the same room for a portion of the time; however, at some point, the interviewer may separate you in order to proceed with questioning. 
  • The questions you are asked to answer may be highly personal, such as what time your spouse wakes up in the morning, when and where you met, whether or not he or she snores at night or other seemingly trivial information.
  • The purpose of the questions is to see how well you and your spouse know each other, and whether it seems logical that you live an average marital lifestyle together. 
  • If you have separate bank accounts or don't sleep in the same room, it may be a red flag for your interviewer that perhaps your marriage is not on the up and up. 
  • Immigrant officials will likely require you to bring a copy of your marriage certificate to your Stokes interview.
  • If your answers do not coincide with your spouses on matters that most married couples would answer the same (such as "What color are your bedroom walls?"), your green card application process may be halted.

If the government formally accuses you of marital fraud in the United States, things may get a whole lot worse before they get better. If you emphatically deny the charges against you, you will still have to do your part to convince the government that your marriage is sincere. In either case, it may be easier to accomplish your goals if you seek assistance from an immigrant advocate.

Best resources in such circumstances

Turning to someone who has already successfully navigated the Stokes interview process may help you prepare for your own meeting. You can also request guidance from an experienced immigration attorney.

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