From start to finish, Immigration Attorney Himedes Chicas stood by the legitimacy of his clients’ marriage. Indeed, Attorney Chicas received word earlier this month that his U.S. Citizen client’s spousal visa petition—filed on behalf of her Jamaican husband—and his application for permanent residence, were approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). This case, however, not only tested the couple’s patience with the U.S. immigration system, but it also tested the strength of their relationship due to delays and skepticism by USCIS about the bona fides of their marriage.
Several months after the Petition for Alien Relative and the non-citizen’s adjustment of status application were filed, the couple received an interview date at the local USCIS field office. Although they had known one another for several years, the couple had only been married for less than one year and lacked the traditional supporting documents that USCIS looks for in adjudicating these types of cases, they were well prepared and did great during the initial interview. After weeks of waiting for a favorable decision, the couple received correspondence indicating that they had to attend a second interview at USCIS. This second interview—traditionally known as the “Stokes” interview—takes place when USCIS questions the legitimacy of a marriage. The Stokes interview is meant to weed-out fraudulent marriages through probing questions of the U.S. citizen and beneficiary, who are each questioned separately with an identical set of questions. During this process USCIS adjudicating officers are looking for any material inconsistencies in answers provided by each spouse. Even couples who have been married for years would likely find it difficult to prevail in a Stokes interview without adequate preparation.
This was certainly a stressful situation for the JM clients, however, Attorney Chicas spent a good amount of time preparing and reassuring his clients that all would be well. Thus, when the couple and Attorney Chicas attended the scheduled Stokes interview, each spouse felt well-prepared and ease. After the interview, both were impressed that the preparation time had been worth it, as they breezed their way through the interview. A few weeks after attending the Stokes interview, the clients received correspondence indicating that his case had been approved and the husband was excited to receive his long awaited “Welcome to America” letter, formally granting him LPR status.
If you and your spouse are looking for assistance in filing for permanent residence please contact Maryland Immigration Attorney Himedes Chicas at 202.384.2647.