In this video attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses how to respond to a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) after a marriage fraud interview also known as the STOKES interview.
As part of the I-130/485 application process to obtain a green card based on marriage, the couple must attend an in-person interview before USCIS to prove that they have a bona fide marriage.
During this interview the immigration officer must determine whether the marriage is in fact legitimate or whether the foreign national entered the marriage solely to obtain an immigration benefit.
If all goes well, the couple is approved following the initial interview.
If the immigration officer suspects fraud or is not convinced that the marriage is legitimate, the couple will be scheduled for a second interview or “STOKES” interview.
During this interview the couple is separated and interrogated regarding the relationship.
After the conclusion of the second interview, if the immigration officer is still not convinced that the marriage is legitimate, USCIS will issue a notice of intent to deny (NOID). The NOID will provide detailed information regarding any inconsistencies that arose during the first and second interview as well as in the case itself. The applicant is given 30 days to respond to the NOID.
Preparing the Response
It is very important to take the NOID seriously. The NOID itself must be carefully analyzed and the applicant and his or her attorney should dissect the findings of the NOID and what happened at the interview. If you have received an NOID and an attorney did not attend your second interview, then you must state your version of what happened during the STOKES interview, and why the inconsistencies arose during the interview.
In general, inconsistencies that are material or important to the merits of the case are difficult to overcome in responding to a NOID. Inconsistencies that are immaterial—meaning inconsistencies that are not crucial to a person’s position—are easier to overcome.
It is very important to be honest and truthful when responding to a NOID. If you were not truthful because of nervousness or because you were intimidated, then you must be honest in your response to the NOID and provide documentation in support of the fact that you have a bona fide marriage.