According to a recently-published government document, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) has proposed tougher questioning of an estimated 65,000 visa applicants who it believes warrant additional scrutiny, in a push toward the “extreme vetting” sought by President Donald Trump.
According to the DOS, a set of new questions would apply to visa applicants who have been “determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities.”
What additional information will be required?
- Travel history during the last fifteen years, including source of funding for travel;
- Address history during the last fifteen years;
- Employment history during the last fifteen years;
- All passport numbers and country of issuance held by the applicant;
- Names and dates of birth for all siblings;
- Name and dates of birth for all children;
- Names and dates of birth for all current and former spouses, or civil or domestic partners;
- Social media platforms and identifiers, also known as handles, used during the last five years; and
- Phone numbers and email addresses used during the last five years.
Is this rule final?
Not yet. These proposed changes to the visa process must undergo a public comment period by May 18. Follow the link for information on how to submit comments.
What does this mean for visa applicants?
This proposed rule could mark the first concrete step toward stricter review of visa applications. For visa applicants, this could mean higher response burdens in filling out applications and delays in visa processing. This could also pose problems for visa applicants who make innocent mistakes or do not remember all the information requested. If you are applying for a visa, it is more important than ever to seek the guidance of an immigration attorney to help guide you throughout the process. Contact us to see how we can help.
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