Hi friends. My name is Marina Shepelsky. I’m an immigration attorney and founder of Shepelsky Law Group. We’re a group of immigration attorneys and experts working with all the 50 states, but based in New York City. Today’s video is about red flags for the Stokes interview, the interview where maybe something went wrong in your first marriage green card interview. The Stokes interview is your second interview where they often separate you and ask both spouses the same questions, but when you are alone with the officer. So this video is your guide on how to prepare and prepare ahead of time. Don’t do this at the last moment and how to avoid doing these things. These red flags will fail you if you don’t do them. If you do the opposite, you will pass the interview. Before I get into it, I invite you to become a follower, a subscriber, our channel, give us a like. If you like this video, we’ll make more videos like this with really cool immigration-based content.
So the first thing that you will do when you get to the Stokes interview is you will do the oath of, you know, telling the truth. You’ll sit down and they will ask you for your ID. Here’s red flag number one:
When you start the interview right off the bat, they look at your driver’s license. In New York, we have a non driver’s state ID and they see if your addresses match with your spouse. You have to understand – to immigration, the main point of this interview is to prove that the spouses live under the same roof. If you don’t live under the same roof, they consider your marriage fraudulent, false. You are lying to them. Even in reality, outside of immigration, I know people who are really married, but work in different states and do commuter marriages. That kind of marriage is super, super difficult for immigration to buy. Like they won’t believe you. They’ll think you are selling them BS. So to them, you know, they don’t have the resources to come to everybody’s house and check. If you live together, proof of you living together is your IDs, your identification. In America, you can fly domestically with just your driver’s license. So they consider your driver’s license or your non driver’s/state-issued government ID to be your main ID. If that ID doesn’t match to the address that your spouse has, you have different addresses. And people always give me crazy excuses. Like, I moved, but my parents still get all my mail. I don’t want my mail going to my address, where I live with my spouse. We have bad mailmen there, we don’t get our mail. I hear you. But I’m telling you that immigration just won’t buy it. They’ll think you are lying and you will begin your interview on a bad note.
Flag number two: your bills and your tax statements and your joint bank statements. You have to have at least one utility bills that has both first names on it. Now some people have like, let’s say gas in one’s name and electricity in the second spouse’s name. This sort of works, but I’m talking about creating utility bills from when you move in together that have both spouses, at least first names on it. People say, well, I didn’t have a social, so they couldn’t add me. Add your spouse as a middle name. Just their first name. If your utility company refuses to add their full name, do like a “care of” line. So the first line would say, Jason Peters, the second line would say C/O care of Marina Shepelsky. So let’s pretend Jason Peters and Marina Shepelsky live together. The address will be under that. So that is definitely something you wanna do. If you don’t have that, they might consider that a red flag.
Next red flag: your tax returns. We just mentioned them. If you have separate tax returns and they have different addresses, huge red flag. If you are married, you should be filing your tax returns for immigration purposes. For immigration purposes. Only we’re talking about in this video as jointly filed married. If one spouse shows they’re single, you are lying. It’s tax fraud. If you are married, you cannot file a single instead. You could file as head of household or married, filing separately. That’s legal. But when you put in your tax returns, while being married to the very person, you had this federal immigration interview with as single, you lied to another federal agency, the IRS, and they’re gonna look at you like you are a liar and a fraudster. So if your tax returns show different addresses, and if one of them has single on it, they’ll say you’re a liar and they might not believe anything else you’re gonna sell them or tell them like, they’ll consider it you’re selling them something you’re lying to them.
Next. You can file as head of household. And the other person could file as married, filing separately. And you can use the same address for taxes that works. Two people cannot file as head of household. It just doesn’t work like that. So you can choose the designation on your tax return as married, filing separately and married, filing separately. If you really wish to file separately, and some people have tax reasons to do that, but at least put the same address and put married, filing separately. That is the best way to do it. If you really insist on filing separately, the best way to do this for immigration is to file on one tax return, joint filing as married. You have to figure out how to put the immigrant spouse on the tax return. Even if they don’t have a social yet, or maybe wait until they get a social and do and amend it.
So that means that the other spouse has to do an extension, wait for you to get your social and only then file your joint married tax return and talk to your accountant. If you have questions about this, there are ways around things like that. But for immigration interviews, we need joint filed as married tax return. That means both of you are going on one tax return. Next bank statements. You could have a joint bank statement, right? But if it’s not used, if it’s just sitting there with the same $500 that you put in there when you opened it, they don’t care about seeing this. They will not consider this proof of your marriage. You might as well have thrown those statements in the garbage. They will not give them any evidentiary value. They will not consider them for your case. If you have a joint bank account that you obviously do not use, don’t use it for immigration, because it’s gonna make you look even worse than just not having one, right?
If you have separate bank accounts, but they have the same address on them, that might work better. So the lesson here is if you do have a joint bank account, use it. And it’s absolutely okay to have a joint account and for each of you to have separate accounts. In addition to this joint account, remember that they check addresses. They can just put something in their computer and check your address records in two minutes. Even I can do it on a regular computer and I don’t have government clearance. Address records are easily, easily traceable online. Google knows everything.If you are not really living together, it’s gonna be super hard at your interview to explain why your mail is going to some address with some other chick’s name on it. I’m just telling you from experience.
Finally have a good photo album with you. In chronological order, we were dating here’s pictures. We were married, wedding pictures. And after the wedding, now, no X-rated naked photos. They don’t want to see those and they will upset them. Okay? They want to see your family photos, family, photo albums. Imagine if you’re taking this to your grandma and you want to show your grandma your dating history, the wedding pictures, and what happened after you got married. You’re not gonna show grandma boobies, right? You’re gonna show grandma, here we are in Atlantic city. Here we are in Las Vegas. We went on a picnic. We went to dinner with friends. You two as a couple with different people at different times in different clothes and different events. You could tell it’s Christmas or Ramadan or Thanksgiving or 4th of July or somebody’s birthday from these pictures. That’s the album you’re gonna have to work on, put together and bring to the interview. And the officer will take two or three photos from you to keep. So be prepared to give them away for keeping okay.
Make sure whatever originals you bring of all the joint documents of your passwords, birth certificates. You also bring one copy of everything, at least one copy of everything because they will take your joint documents from you and keep it for their file.
Thanks for watching. If you watch this video, before you go to your Stokes interview, you will definitely prepare and pass. And remember you have to know the other spouses, biographical information, date of birth, your wedding date. Where did you live when you met? Where did you move together? When did you move out all this information? They’ll expect you to know from your brain, not by looking at papers. All right. So be prepared and get that green card. Bye everyone! Thank you for watching. Follow our channel. Give us a like. Hit that little bell to become a subscriber. See you later.