In light of recent events, the U.S. Department of State has submitted a request to collect additional information from people applying for a United States visa. This request comes from a basis of evaluating terrorism or national security-related ineligibilities in visa applicants. If approved, these newly-proposed questions would realistically affect a mere 0.5% of applicants. The questions intend to resolve applicant identity. They also let the consular officer further decide if visa applicant’s circumstances, application, or responses in an interview call for further scrutiny and investigation.
The list of proposed questions requires applicants to provide information concerning the following topics:
- 15 years of travel history and funding sources for said travel
- 15 years of address history
- 15 years of employment history
- All passport numbers and country of issuance
- Names and birthdays of all children, current & former spouses or civil or domestic partners, and siblings
- Five years of social media platforms and identifiers
- Five years of phone numbers and email addresses
The answers to these questions could be attained in writing, over email, or in-person during the applicant interview. Though these topics seem relatively invasive, there are guidelines and restrictions that consular officers must follow when questioning a visa applicant. In favor of privacy protection, officers may not request user passwords for social media platforms or attempt to overthrow privacy regulations. Additionally, answers to any or all of the questions may not be used to discriminate against applicants or deny visas on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, political views, national origin, gender, or sexual orientation. The inability to supply officers with all of this information does not necessarily constitute application denial. The proposal states that as long as applicants can give a “credible explanation” for their failure to provide the facts, the officers themselves will have the discretion to grant a visa.
If you or a loved one are considering or in the process of applying for a United States visa, awareness of new policies or proposals such as this are highly significant. Understanding your privacy rights, as well as the scope of topics covered in visa applicant interviews, will allow you to prepare for the application process adequately. To learn more about United States visas, or for aid in the application process, contact The Law Office of Nathan Christensen PC. We serve clients in the Dallas TX area and beyond with the goal of facilitating a successful immigration process. For more information, visit us online at https://immigrationlawyerdallastx.com/ or give us a call today (972) 497-1017.