Tills Visa Law

Stephen K. Tills, Attorney at LAW

Trump Implements Increased Vetting of Visa Applicants

The Trump administration has enhanced the screening of Visa applicants in 3 recent measures.  These actions support the campaign promise use extreme vetting of visa applicants.

First,  the recent program of expedited visas for certain non-immigrants has been cancelled.  Second,  DOS has added a new form form, DS-5535, Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants,   which standardizes the collection of additional information, including social media usage, from immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants “who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities”.

Secondly,   in February,  an executive Order suspended the Visa Interview Waiver Program (VIWP) and effectively mandated in-person interviews for  all nonimmigrant visa applicants, unless an interview is not required by statute or otherwise excepted by the Order.   The VIWP allowed consular officers to waive the interview requirement for applicants seeking o renew nonimmigrant visas within 12 months of expiration of the initial visa in the same classification.

Most recently,  the Department of State issues a new form to be used in the discretion of consular officials.   Form DS-5535, Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants, standardizes the collection of additional information, including social media usage, from immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants “who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities.”

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