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When you said I do, did immigration officials think you didn't?

When you came to Georgia from your country of origin to prepare for your wedding, emotions varying from excitement to trepidation may have consumed you. After all, when you accepted a marriage proposal from a U.S. citizen, you knew you'd be learning to adjust to a whole new culture, laws and day-to-day lifestyle. Hopefully, you did your research ahead of time and knew that, to fulfill the requirements of your visa, you had to marry within 90 days of your arrival in the United States.

Sometimes, immigration officials call marriages between U.S. citizens and noncitizens into question. Whether there is a specific list of criteria that prompts such questioning is not known. The fact is, if you receive notice that immigration officials are requesting a stokes interview with you and your spouse, the more you know about the process ahead of time, the higher your chances of obtaining a positive outcome.

Issues that may flag you for a possible stokes interview request

If you know someone who has already navigated the stokes interview process, you may be able to discuss it with them and therefore better prepare yourself. Questions from past interviews may signify certain issues that may possibly bring you into the radar of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, which could lead to a stokes interview. The list below includes potential red flags:

  • An official may call you in for a stokes interview if you married a U.S. citizen but you and your spouse keep all your finances and accounts separate. USCIS tends to pay closer attention to these types of marriages, based on the premise that fraud is more likely in relationships where the couple does not combine money and bank accounts.
  • When you do your taxes, although you may have reason not to file jointly with your spouse, if such reasons do not exist and you still file separately, you will definitely be at risk for a stokes interview.
  • If your lifestyle does not follow typical norms, they may flag you for an interview as well. For instance, if there appears to be no good reason for you and your spouse to live apart but you do not share a home, immigration officials will likely want to further investigate your situation.
  • Before a stokes interview, there is typically an initial meeting where officials may ask certain questions. If you pass that initial meeting, you may never have to appear at a stokes interview. If, on the other hand, you and your spouse gave answers that didn't quite seem to jive in your initial interview, they may call in for a stokes interview.

Various questions may be quite personal, such as those regarding how you met your spouse, how many bedrooms your house has, or what time you and your spouse went to bed the night before. Questions often refer to intimate incidents such as those that pertain to private matters to which only validly married spouses would likely know the answers. The process can be extremely stressful and worrisome, especially if you are not aware of your rights.

Support is available

Many Georgia immigrants call upon immigration and naturalization law attorneys to represent them in any hearings or official meetings regarding their statuses. Having an advocate by your side who is well-versed in current U.S. immigration laws is a valuable asset that may mean the difference between a satisfactory or negative outcome.

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Norcross, GA 30071

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