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Is the U.S. government calling foul on your marriage?

When you met the person of your dreams and started planning your Kentucky wedding, you assumed you would encounter various challenges along the way, since you were emigrating from another country of origin to marry a U.S. citizen. On the personal side, you may have wondered whether your two families would be able to combine customs and traditions to create a joyful ceremony and wedding day celebration.  

You may have become anxious as you thought about the green card process, hoping you wouldn't run into any legal trouble. When you are a non-citizen who marries a U.S. citizen, there are several situations that may occur to cause immigration officials to question whether your marriage is legitimate. If this happens, the U.S. government may require you to attend a Stokes interview. The more you know about such issues ahead of time, as well as what type of support is available to help you if a problem arises, the better.  

Here's what happens at a Stokes interview 

Like most immigrants coming to the United States to live, you may have a significant language barrier, even if you've studied English for several years. Having to answer questions immigration officers are asking while they speak quickly and fluently in English may be one of the most stressful experiences of your life. The following list includes facts regarding what you might expect to occur at a Stokes interview and who can help you navigate the process: 

  • Immigration officials must inform you of your rights in writing before you attend your Stokes interview.
  • In addition to making you aware of your rights, officials must also tell you what documents you must bring to your meeting.
  • Among documents immigration officials typically want to review are your marriage license, passport, your U.S. citizen spouse's photo ID, proof of his or her citizenship and bank account information.
  • You may also have to show documents of a more personal nature, such as photo albums, tax returns or utility bills. 
  • Your interviewer may ask questions while you and your spouse are together in the same room, then separate you for further questioning. 
  • Some of the questions may be very intimate, such as what your spouse's favorite pajamas look like or what time he or she usually goes to bed at night.  

Although you may feel that many of the questions are quite invasive, it is critical that you cooperate as best you can in order to convince officials that your marriage is legitimate and not a scheme you procured in order to get a green card. You are allowed to seek legal representation to accompany you to your Stokes interview.

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