State Department moves to implement ‘extreme vetting’ policies

4 May 17

UNITED STATES

The State Department has published a list of questions it would like to pose to “a subset of visa applicants,” as officials seek to implement President Donald Trump’s “extreme vetting” visa policies.

The list was published Thursday, and the State Department has asked the Office of Management and Budget for emergency review and approval by May 18. If granted, the emergency approval would be valid for 180 days. The administration could separately seek permanent approval of the questions.

Applicants subject to the new provisions would be required to provide the following information:

  • Travel history during the last 15 years, including source of funding for travel.
  • Address history during the last 15 years.
  • Employment history during the last 15 years.
  • All passport numbers and country of issuance held by the applicant.
  • Names and dates of birth for all siblings.
  • Name and dates of birth for all children.
  • Names and dates of birth for all current and former spouses, or civil or domestic partners.
  • Social media platforms and identifiers (or handles) used during the last five years. Passwords will not be requested.
  • Phone numbers and email addresses used during the last five years.

The questions are part of the administration’s new vetting policy as called for in Trump’s March 6 Executive Order Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States. They were first proposed in a State Department cable issued March 15, but a subsequent cable suspended those requirements pending OMB approval, presumably because of the legal requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

The State Department said applicants would be selected for additional screening based on “individual circumstances” that “lead U.S. consular officers at posts around the world to conclude the applicant warrants enhanced screening that takes into account” information from the additional questions listed above.

BAL Analysis: The additional screening requirements could result in increased administrative processing delays for some applicants and may exacerbate interview appointment backlogs since the requirements may lead to longer interviews. Applicants who may be flagged for additional screening should be prepared to provide the additional information described above and should plan for the possibility of increased delays in their visa application process.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact BerryApplemanLeiden@balglobal.com.

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