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Be Prepared for Tougher Visa Screening at U.S. Embassies and Consulates

6/2/17

By: Layli Eskandari Deal

On March 6, 2017, President Trump issued a memo directing the Secretary of State and others to implement additional screening and vetting standards to ensure “the proper collection of all information necessary to rigorously evaluate all grounds of inadmissibility or deportability or grounds for the denial of immigration benefits” and to prevent “the entry into the United States of foreign nationals who may aid, support, or commit violent, criminal, or terrorist acts.”

The Department of State, the government agency in charge of all U.S. Embassies and Consulates, has issued a new supplemental questionnaire (Form DS-5535) which is now in use by the Embassies and Consulates. This new form will require some visa applicants to provide the following:

  • Travel history for the last 15 years
  • Address history for the last 15 years
  • Employment history for the last 15 years
  • All passport numbers and issuing countries held by the applicant
  • Names and dates of birth for family members (including former spouses and domestic partners)
  • Social media identifiers or handles used during the last 5 years
  • Phone numbers and email address used in the last 5 years

The Department of State has indicated that these additional questions will not be asked of all applicants but only those the U.S. Embassy/Consulate determines warrant a more rigorous examination.

The Department of States has advised that failure to provide the requested information does not automatically result in a visa denial and that the consular post can accept other supporting documents and information from the applicant to determine visa eligibility.

For additional information related to this topic and for advice regarding how to navigate U.S. immigration laws you may contact Layli Eskandari Deal of the law firm of Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP at (770-551-2700) or [email protected].