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How well you know your spouse may affect your legal status

Marrying a U.S. citizen and building a new life in Texas may have been simultaneously the most wonderful yet challenging time of your life. All newly married couples encounter challenges together, especially within the first couple of years of marriage. Adapting to living as a couple as opposed to the single life can be difficult. You and your spouse have, hopefully, been able to overcome any obstacles that have arisen since your wedding day.  

Marital stress is often external, meaning someone or something outside your home is the source. If the U.S. government recently sent you written notice to appear at a Stokes interview, it is definitely understandable that you might be feeling anxious and afraid. After all, the results of a Stokes interview may affect whether or not you can stay in the United States. You should know several things before your appointment; the first is that you may ask an immigrant advocate to accompany you to the interview. 

Proving the legitimacy of your marriage 

You may or may not ever find out what exact issues led to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents calling you to a Stokes interview. The following list includes information that may help you understand the process and maximize your chances for success: 

  • Little things mean a lot: Do you know your spouse's favorite color, favorite food or usual bedtime? These are examples of questions your interviewer may ask and things will likely go more favorably for you if your answers are accurate.
  • The more evidence, the better: When attending a Stokes interview, any physical evidence, such as important documents, photo albums, hand-written letters or greeting cards you and your spouse have exchanged in the past, etc., may help you convince immigration officials that your marriage is a bona fide union.
  • Take advantage of preparation time: From the time you receive notice to appear to the actual day of your Stokes interview, you and spouse can spend as much as time as possible sharing personal information. Try to think of random questions your interviewer may ask and help each other prepare to answer them. 
  • Your answers must coincide: You and your spouse may be in the same room for part of your Stokes interview but at some point, officials may separate you. They will ask you both similar questions to compare your answers to see if there are any contradictions.
  • Things may get quite personal: Be prepared to feel uncomfortable if your interviewer's line of questioning becomes a bit intimate, such as questions regarding the color of your bedroom or what brand of toothpaste your spouse uses. Interviewers are trying to determine if your marriage is legitimate or you are trying to beat the system to obtain a green card. 

If you have a language barrier, then taking someone with you to help translate your interviewer's questions is a good idea. Issues that may cause your interviewer to think your marriage is a scam include not knowing basic things about your spouse that the average spouse should know, having separate bank accounts or filing separate tax returns for no apparent reason or not living in the same home together. There are support resources available to help you overcome any problems that may arise.

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