An undocumented immigrant residing in New York, who has filed an I-130 Petition and an I-485 Adjustment of Status Application with their spouse, will be scheduled for an adjustment of status interview at their local USCIS office. At this initial interview, the couple will be asked to present certain documents and answer questions proving the validity of their marriage. If the USCIS officer is not satisfied that the marriage is legitimate, the office may schedule the couple for a second interview, known as a Stokes interview.
During the Stokes interview the couple is separated. They are questioned one-on-one by a USCIS officer, who will ask detailed questions about their relationship, their families, employment, travel, and many other matters. The answers provided by the couple must match nearly perfectly or there is a strong possibility that the USCIS officer will deny the I-130 Petition and then place the undocumented spouse in removal proceedings (i.e. deportation hearings) in Immigration Court. If the USCIS officer determines that the true intent of the marriage is to fraudulently obtain a greencard, the undocumented spouse will be barred from obtaining a greencard permanently.
Preparation is the key to successfully navigating a Stokes interview. Failure may lead to the most serious consequences, including arrest and/or deportation. We have attended many of these interviews with our clients and counseled them on what to expect at a Stokes interview.
If you have a Stokes interview scheduled or have been issued a denial following a Stokes interview, please call or email us to schedule a consultation.