Renee J. Tello Legal Blog

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

3 Mistakes That Can Lead to a Stokes Interview

So recently I’ve represented several clients at Stokes interviews that were scheduled as a direct result of lack of preparation and ignorance of immigration requirements and procedure on the part of the clients. Individuals who apply for a green card (permanent residence) through sponsorship by a U.S. citizen spouse must attend an interview with an immigration officer.  Stokes interviews are secondary green card interviews that are scheduled once an immigration officer has suspicions that a marriage is not legitimate or there is insufficient evidence to support the approval of the application.  At the Stokes interview the green card applicant and their U.S. citizen sponsor are subjected to an in-depth interview and also given an opportunity to provide additional evidence.

Many people chose to prepare their green card application and many commit the same mistakes that result in either an outright denial or a Stokes interview. I wanted to go over three common reasons that applicants end up being scheduled for Stokes interviews although they may have a strong case.  Lack of preparation is the main reason that most green card applications are not immediately approved, the applicant gets scheduled for a Stokes interview or eventually the immigration applications are denied.  Preparation, preparation, preparation is the key to obtaining positive results from the Immigration Service. Here are three common mistakes that green card applicants make that all stem from a failure to prepare:

1. Failure to understand immigration requirements and regulations

Whatever the application you are submitting to the Immigration Service, you must know the legal requirements that need to be met in order to obtain the immigration benefit.  Most applicants that represent themselves are not familiar with the immigration requirements; as such they cannot submit a strong application.  An experienced and qualified immigration attorney will be familiar with the immigration application requirements and laws and be able to easily navigate the immigration system.  If you choose to represent yourself, and many do, be certain that you know the requirements of the application you are submitting.  Be willing and able to put in the time and work necessary to research the requirements.

2. Failure to provide valid and/or sufficient evidence

So now you know what the immigration requirements are, now you need to prove, with evidence, that you satisfy the requirements.   It is not enough to know the rules you must prove to the Immigration Service that you qualify and you must do so clearly with sufficient evidence.  I have had many clients come to my office after receiving a denial letter from the Immigration Service that resulted from their failure to provide sufficient evidence or any evidence at all.  The Immigration Service will not prove your case for you, you have the burden and you must meet that burden by providing strong evidence. Here is where a qualified attorney comes in; they can help you build case with strong evidence using their knowledge of the immigration regulations and experience.

3. Failure to prepare for the interview

Applicants that fail to prepare for their green card interview usually end up with a Stokes interview appointment.  Nerves can create many problems for an applicant at a green card interview.  Being nervous at such an important interview is normal.  However, the way to reduce an applicant’s level of stress is to familiarize them with what to expect at the interview.  I find that after I prepare clients on what to expect at the green card interview, conduct a mock interview, and provide sample interview questions, they are much more comfortable at the interview and are usually successful.  In addition, I attend all of my clients’ green card interviews; as such, I am in the room with my clients which many clients find comforting.

For more information, call our office at 718-978-9000, and make an appointment today.

The Law Office of Renee J. Tello, PLLC serves clients throughout the New York City metropolitan area including Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island and Westchester.

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