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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawUS Visa and Immigration Policy: Extreme Vetting and the DS-5535

US Visa and Immigration Policy: Extreme Vetting and the DS-5535

Transcript of the above video:

In this video, I'm going to be discussing extreme vetting again with respect to U.S. immigration matters. As has been discussed in previous videos on this channel, extreme vetting is a policy that's been promulgated by the Trump administration and we're still seeing how this is playing out in a practical context with respect to actual immigration matters. This is from actually the NA FSA.org website and basically, there's a new form, the Department of State form called a 5535 which pertains directly to extreme vetting. To quote directly from this website, “If a consular officer determines that a visa applicant warrants additional scrutiny, the applicant will be instructed to provide the following information on Form DS 5535.

We've explained what they're looking for in other videos with respect to like travel history, address history, employment history, passport numbers. It also should be noted things like social media handles have been requested as part of this DS 5535. A couple of key points to just anecdotally sort of interest to me. Apparently and this has come about sort of anecdotally. It's my understanding that this is only supposed to apply in a very limited set of circumstances, in fact a very narrow set of circumstances. That’s my understanding.

However, oftentimes that's how broad policy starts. You know, it starts out as being applied very narrowly and then down the line, it may be applied quite broadly. I don't think it's safe to say that that's going to happen here but I think it's safe to assume that it's a possibility, let's put it that way.

The other thing is, there seems to be some speculation as to what social media handles are going to be used for and moreover, where does that information go. Apparently, Department of State doesn't feel or I should say, consular officers directly don't feel that they particularly need to follow up once they have the information. But apparently, if all this information gets forwarded sort of up the chain as it was and where it goes, I've not gotten a specific answer with respect to exactly where it goes. Seems like it might go to like diplomatic security or the security services within the Department of State. Hard to say, I can't tell exactly what, where or what the protocol is for that information as of yet obviously. We'll update you with respect to that as soon as we know more.

The other thing is apparently specifically consular officers are forbidden from asking for passwords with respect to social media. So that appears to be a clear bright line with respect to restrictions, with respect to this DS-5535. And what's also interesting about this thing is it's a paper form. While the rest of the Department of State's shall we say, administrative apparatus is essentially all online now. There was a time especially in family immigration matters, in employment immigration matters where certain paper filings were required with respect to Department of State. Those days are kind of gone but this form itself remains a paper form.

The other thing is apparently or at least when the policy was initially brought forward, this extreme vetting, this was supposedly to only be occurring at least presumably that's based on how I read and understood the policies as elucidated by the administration. Apparently, this stuff is a temporary measure so perhaps the paper aspect to this form, that may be indicative of the fact that we're not going to be dealing with this forever. It's just a temporary protocol that runs part and partial with the so called temporary ban.

So how this stuff is going to progress in the future remains to be seen but it seems likely that you know, it's still possible that extreme vetting procedures could slow down on otherwise processing application and the protocols for dealing with extreme vetting are still somewhat opaque and moreover, they're apparently supposed to only apply in a very narrow set of circumstances.