Extreme Vetting of Visa Applicants to Include New Supplemental Form DS-5535

Trump administration to demand more, and more private, information from some applicants for visas to the United States.


After promising with regard to the "Executive Order Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States" that some applicants for U.S. visas would go through not only the usual vetting (which involves supplying police reports, biographical information, and more), but extreme vetting," the Trump Administration is giving indications of what "extreme vetting" actually means.

The administration has issued, and consulates are already by using, a new, supplemental visa form called DS-5535.

The form asks such questions as what countries the applicant has traveled to over the last 15 years (including details of each trip: locations visited, date visited, source of funds, and length of stay); addresses, contact information, and employment information dating back over the last 15 years; and the applicant's unique user name for any websites or applications used to create or share content (such as photos, videos, or personal status updates) for the last five years.

In other words, it's an application that's tough for anyone who doesn't keep excellent records. But the form itself warns that failing to provide the information may delay or prevent the application's processing.

Another concern was pointed out by the ACLU in a recent press release: "The government provides no parameters for social media vetting, raising concerns about the privacy and free speech rights of U.S. citizens and residents."

It does not appear that this form will be required of every visa applicant. Rather, according to what a Department of State (DOS) officials told Reuters, consular officials will request that the form be filled out when they determine that "such information is required to confirm identity or conduct more rigorous national security vetting."

That means that anyone of whom this form is requested should be on alert that something unusual may have turned up in their file, and ideally speak to a U.S. immigration attorney for advice.