New Vetting Procedures for Visa Applicants at U.S. Embassies

Recently, officers at U.S. embassies around the world have begun more intensive vetting procedures for some visa applicants. These procedures include asking for social media handles. The purpose is to "block potential terrorists and other national security threats from entering the country."

Visitors and potential immigrants to the United States may soon be given a new, supplemental questionnaire asking for more detailed information.

The questionnaire was approved on May 23rd by the Office of Management and Budget. It was introduced as a temporary, "emergency" measure in response to President Trump mandating enhanced visa screening. These procedures are authorized to remain in effect through November. However, we can expect these procedures to be updated and made permanent.

What is included on the questionnaire?

The questionnaire is three pages in length. It asks applicants for passport number, travel history for the last 15 years, and source of funding for trips. The intent is to identify individuals who have spent time in areas controlled by terrorist groups. The questionnaire also asks for 15 years of employment history, home addresses, and names of all spouses or partners. Applicants are also asked for user names on all social media accounts they have used in the last five years.

It is not required that an applicant provide this information, but not providing answers could cause a delay in processing.

The questionnaire has faced backlash from groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Betsy Lawrence, head of government relations for AILA says the questionnaire leaves room for simple errors, which could create a false suspicion of fraud. The questionnaire will also likely discourage applicants from coming to the U.S.

Categories: Immigration News