Changes to US Visa Vetting – August 2017 Update
Extra Screening for Visa Applicants
Extreme vetting was part of President Trump’s campaign goals before he took office. Today, the Trump administration is getting closer to that goal by rolling out a new questionnaire for visa applicants. The new questionnaire asks applicants the following:
- Social media information
- Biographical and travel history
- Previous passport numbers
- Email addresses and phone numbers
- Addresses and employment information
Not everyone who applies for a visa will be required to fill out the form. A State Department official estimated that 65,000 visa applicants “will present a threat profile” each year, and this will lead to the extra screening for each individual who has a “threat profile.” The notice in the Federal Register posted by the State Department said that the questions on the form are supposed to “more rigorously evaluate applicants for terrorism, national-security related, or other visa ineligibilities.” The notice also outlined the intention to use the form for the next three years. The form is not mandatory, but if one fails to complete it, the visa application could suffer a delay during processing.
Although President Trump has targeted Muslim countries in the past, he has not done the same with the introduction of this new form. The form casts a wide net and seeks to protect the US from all types of people who may be a threat to the country. Immigration attorneys throughout the US have been helping clients fill out the new form as they prepare visa applications. It can be viewed as another measure the government is using to protect its citizens, and the form should not impede someone’s ability to enter the US if he or she is eligible. Attorneys throughout the country have been preparing for this extra screening and will continue to meet clients’ goals with success.
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Sources: “Trump administration moves to make tougher U.S. visa vetting permanent.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 4 Aug. 2017, www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-visa-idUSKBN1AJ2UC. Accessed 16 Aug. 2017.
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