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Has the US government called you to a Stokes interview?

When you emigrated from another country to Louisiana, you likely felt great anticipation about your new life in the United States. Perhaps, you were joyful because you were planning to marry the love of your life. Maybe you also felt a certain amount of fear or trepidation knowing you would likely encounter numerous challenges as you adapted to a new lifestyle.

Regardless of how much time has passed between then and now, if, at some point, the U.S. government sent you a notice to appear at a Stokes interview, you might be feeling worried, confused and stressed. Otherwise known as a marriage interview, the purpose of such meetings is to determine whether a marriage in question is legitimate. If you fail the test, you may be at risk for deportation.

What you should know ahead of time

When you attend a Stokes interview, you and your spouse will have to answer a lot of questions. For some of the time, you will likely be in the same room. During the process, you might also be separated, with U.S. immigration officials asking you questions in one area while your spouse answers similar questions in another.

It's important to understand that the answers you give will affect the ultimate outcome of your situation. You must be prepared to prove that your marriage is legitimate and not some scheme that you undertook for the purpose of gaining permanent residency status. A Stokes interview is usually a second interview that follows an initial meeting that raised a red flag regarding possible marriage fraud.

Types of questions they might ask

When you sit down with a U.S. immigration official in a marriage fraud interview, there's no telling what your interviewer might ask. It's not uncommon for the line of questioning to be highly personal. For instance, the interviewer might ask you what color your bed sheets are or what time your spouse typically goes to sleep at night.

You might also have to answer questions about your spouse's family or childhood. Additional questions might include details about where you met or went on your first date or how long you dated before getting married. The more you know about your spouse's likes and dislikes ahead of time, the better.

Why do they separate spouses?

Keep in mind that the whole purpose of a Stokes interview is to determine whether you married in good faith or are trying to fool the U.S. government in order to gain permanent residency status. Immigration officials will question you and your spouse separately.

They will ask you the same questions, then compare the answers you each provided. If you say your bedroom is yellow and your spouse says its green, officials will no doubt consider that a red flag.

What happens if you fail?

If you entered the United States on a marriage-based visa then fail a Stokes interview, you may be at risk for removal. The government does not look favorably upon those who try to beat the system.

This is why you must be able to show evidence that your marriage is legitimate. Photographs, correspondence between you and your spouse, and other things, such as greeting cards or mail with both your names on it, can help prove your case.

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