An American citizen can file a visa petition to sponsor a spouse to get their own green card. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) inspects the marriages of immigrants to American citizens during interviews. The immigration officer looks for inconsistencies as indicators of marriage fraud. If you’ve applied for a marriage-based green card, you will have to attend a marriage interview, and the USCIS may require you to participate in a 2nd USCIS interview, called Stokes Interviews. During the marriage interview, applicants must prove they have a real, bona fide marriage. And not a marriage just to get a green card.
The Stokes Interview (named after the case of Stokes v. I.N.S.) is also known as a marriage fraud interview. It is called this because they are only required when a USCIS officer isn’t satisfied with the answers provided during the first marriage interview. The interview needs a 2nd interview to verify it is a real, bona fide marriage. A “bona fide” marriage means that you and your spouse have a real relationship and plan to build a future together. It means you did not get married just for immigration purposes. The 2nd interview is called a Stokes Interview, and the immigration officer will question each person separately and the couple together.
If a Stokes Interview is required to prove the couple has a bona fide marriage, not just a wedding, to get a green card, the applicants will receive a written notice that they are required to attend the 2nd interview. It includes a list of their rights and an appointment letter with a list of documents they must submit.
After the Stokes Interview is conducted, the USCIS officer will question the couple about any discrepancies in their answers and try to resolve the issue. The officer will approve the green card when satisfied with the answers.
Marriage fraud is a federal crime. A fake marriage for the purpose of getting a green card can have severe consequences. It can result in a prison sentence of up to 5 years and a fine of up to $250,000. The punishment is for both the immigrant and the American citizen.
An experienced family immigration lawyer can answer your marriage visa and green card questions. They can help prepare you for your marriage interview to prove you have a bona fide marriage. With experience in many immigration cases, Mario Godoy and the immigration attorneys at the Godoy Law Office can assess your situation and advise you on your best options to get your green card. Call us today at 630-912-0322.