Whether you have been living in Texas for a number of years or have only recently just arrived, when you married a U.S. citizen, you likely encountered some challenges. Depending on how familiar you may or may not have been with American culture, you may have struggled to master the English language as well as get used to new foods, new friends and new customs.
You were hopefully able to forge a strong support network, filled with family and friends who were ready and willing to help you adapt to your new lifestyle. However, if the U.S. government has called your marriage into question regarding legitimacy, there may be little to nothing your loved ones or neighbors can do to help you during your Stokes interview. The purpose of this interview is to determine if you used the system to obtain a legal status.
What to expect and what not to do
How well do you know your spouse? In preparation for your marriage interview, you may want to learn as much as you can about your spouse, including obscure details, such as the name of the elementary school he or she attended or the name of his or her first pet. The following list tells what will likely happen at your interview and certain behaviors you'll want to avoid:
- Immigration officials will ask you questions, perhaps alongside your spouse as well as in private.
- They are checking to see if you know things an average person would know about his or her spouse.
- They are also carefully observing and listening to see if your answers and your spouse's answers jive.
- Your interviewer might ask personal questions, such as whether you and your spouse are physically intimate with each other, how many windows are in your bedroom, what color your bathroom walls are painted or what time your spouse went to bed the night before your interview.
Texas couples who hope to maximize their chances of successfully completing their Stokes interviews often ask immigrant advocates to accompany them to their meetings. The law allows legal representation and this is often a key factor in helping to alleviate stress and guide spouses through the process to convince officials that a particular marriage is legitimate.
If all goes well, you will retain your green card and the U.S. government will allow to you live and work in Texas or anywhere in the nation. If officials do not believe that your marriage is authentic, they can immediately detain you and initiate the removal process. That is why it so critical to make sure you understand your rights and know how to protect them.