You know that your marriage is real and not some kind of scam designed to get your spouse a green card — but the authorities at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) weren’t convinced. Now, you and your spouse are scheduled for a second interview. Known as a Stokes interview, this is your shot to prove that your marriage isn’t a fraud.

What should you bring to a Stokes interview?

You will probably be given a list of things to bring to the interview, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring more items that lend weight to your claim. Some of the most important things you want to have ready include:

  • Photo identification and proof of citizenship for the petitioner’s spouse
  • The passport and and identification belonging to the immigrant spouse
  • Employment records, including the last several pay stubs
  • Your marriage certificate, photo album and other related items
  • Rent receipts, utility bills and tax returns
  • Insurance policies and bank account information

Your interviewer is generally looking to see if you and your spouse have fully intertwined lives, rather than just a paper certificate that says that you’re married.

What happens next?

You and your spouse will be separated and asked a lot of questions about your lives together. While you should each answer as honestly and completely as possible, it doesn’t hurt to look up some of the most common questions that interviewers ask and make sure that you both know the answers.

Typically, the questions involve details about your mundane lives together. Things like, “Who walks the dog?” and “What color is the couch?” or “What side of the bed do you sleep on?” aren’t uncommon.

If you’ve been scheduled for a Stokes interview, realize that the authorities are already suspicious. Make sure that you have experienced legal advice from the start.