Wednesday, September 23, 2020

UNITED STATES: Extreme Vetting Implemented

On 3rd May 2017, the Department of State requested the right to collect additional information from certain visa applicants worldwide from the Office of Budget and Management. The new information collection powers were quietly implemented on 23rd May 2017.

Background

The State Department estimates that 0.5% of visa applicants worldwide – about 65,000 individuals per year – present a threat profile, based on their circumstances and on information they provide in their visa applications. Where individuals fit such a profile, consular officers may now request additional information to perform more rigorous vetting using a new form, the DS-5535.

Because the request by the Department of State was made on an emergency basis, the questionnaire is valid for 180 days from publication which is until 30th November 2017.  If the Department wishes to extend the validity of the form to three years, it will have to initiate a routine approval process to include a 90-day period for comments to be submitted and reviewed by the agency.

Our advice

As these changes are implemented, affected individuals should consult with an immigration attorney for the latest information and guidance.