DS-5535 Form, Extreme Vetting: The New Visa Vetting Procedures
What is Extreme Vetting and does it REALLY affect my application?
Extreme vetting is performed after a US visa applicant goes for their US visa application interview. If the immigration officer issues the DS-5535 form this means the US consulate will further scrutinize your case and your background.
Such scrutiny includes the US immigration officer checking your travel history, phone numbers and address information, employment history, your social media accounts, etc.
Our office recently received an email from a young man living in the UK, he had just been issued a DS-5535 by the London Consulate and was unsure if this meant he would soon be denied. He also wanted to know how it was legal that the US immigration system was requiring all of these details and looking into his background when he had never been denied a B1/B2 visa before. So below is is a bit of information to help explain what Extreme Vetting is and what it means for a case as well as a copy of the form DS-5535 that you can download and fill in.
How is this legal?
On March 6, 2017, President Trump, signed a memorandum aimed at “Implementing Immediate Heightened Screening and Vetting of Applications for Visas…” these additional protocols and procedures aim to guarantee “the proper collection of all information necessary to rigorously evaluate all grounds of inadmissibility or deportability, or grounds for the denial of other immigration benefits.”
In response to the Trump administration’s directive, the Department of State created form DS-5535 Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants (click here to view and download the form).
Note: If you were issued a DS-5535 by the London, Dublin, Belfast or any other consulate be sure you understand your rights and speak with an attorney our office before you submit this form to the US Embassy.
The Extreme Vetting form requests the following information:
- Travel history during the last fifteen years, including a source of funds and details regarding each trip;
- Address history during the last fifteen years;
- Employment history during the last fifteen 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/domestic partners
- Social media platforms and identifiers used during the last five years
- Phone numbers and email addresses used during the last five years
Applicants required to fill out a DS-5535, when possible, may provide supporting documentation to the London Embassy US consular officer if the officer determines that such application warrants increased scrutiny.
How often does this happen?
The State Department estimates that less than one percent of all U.S. visa applicants worldwide will be required to fill out the form but many think this is a conservative estimate. While the Trump Administration has not provided many details of who will be selected, it is commonly believed that applicants may be flagged for past travel (specifically travel to the countries listed in the travel ban) while other applicants may be flagged where a “security trigger” is indicated, or people who belong to – what the US Government defines as “populations warranting increased scrutiny,” based on the individual visa applicants circumstances and/or the information the applicant provides.
It is important to note that failure to provide the requested information will delay your case and most likely result in a denial. If you are flagged for additional screening you must take this seriously as it could result in the denial of your visa. Our office frequently reviews the responses of applicants issued a DS-5535 and if needed will reply to the US Consulate on London directly on behalf of our visa applicants.
Being issued with the Extreme Vetting form is not a formality. Get professional help.