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United States: U.S Visa Application Update

Latest update to U.S visa application

The Department of State has requested the right to gather more information from certain visa applicants worldwide from the office of Budget and Management. This has arisen from a statistic that 0.5% of visa applicants worldwide which round to about 65,000 individual per year present a threat profile, based on their circumstances and information provided on their visa applications. If any individual fit such a profile, the consular officer can request additional information to perform more rigorous vetting using the new DS-5535 form.

The new form will seek the following information:

  • Travel history of the applicant during the previous fifteen years, including the source of funding for each trip;
  • History of addresses during the previous fifteen years;
  • All passport numbers and country of issuance held by an applicant;
  • Names and dates of birth for all siblings;
  • Names 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 (also known as “handles”) used by the applicant for the previous five years; and,
  • Phone numbers and email addresses used during the previous five years.

Although a lot of the information is requested on the current visa application, it is normally required for a shorter period of time, like 5 years and not 15 years. The following are new request for the department state

  • names and dates of birth for siblings
  • source of funding for travel the past fifteen years.
  • social media information

If an applicant has been in an area which was or under the control of a terrorist organisation, a consular officer will request details or an applicant’s domestic or international travel.

A visa applicant can be asked to complete the DS – 5535 at any point of the visa interview process, electronically or in person. The questions can also be posted orally by a consular officer, according to the Department of State.
As the request from the Department of State was made on an emergency basis, the questionnaire is valid for 180 days from publication which is until 30 November 2017. Should the Department want to extend the validity of the form to three years, the Department will have to initiate a routine approval process to include a 90 day period for comments and review from the agency.

More information

If you have any questions, feel free to contact our Immigration team at immigration@sterling.com or call +44(0)20 8836 3359.

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