20 Jun 2017 The American Dream

Does the new Form DS-5535 put applicants applying for a U.S. visa under general suspicion? Those applying for a U.S. visa may be asked by a consular officer reviewing the applications to compete an additional questionnaire called Form DS-5535. 

What is the reason behind the new Form DS-5535?

The purpose of the Form DS-5535 (Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants) is to determine if an applicant is a potential threat to national security by requiring the applicant to give additional information. The Form DS-5535 was introduced after President Trump ordered the Department of State in a memorandum from March 6th, 2017 to enhance security screening. This was followed by a diplomatic cable on March 17th, 2017 ordering U.S. consulates to introduce extreme vetting into the visa application process. It is assumed that this new form is a direct response to the suspended Presidential Executive Order titled Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States from January 27th, 2017. Similar to the previous Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, these new regulations will most likely affect countries such as Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen the most. 

Who is required to complete the visa Form DS-5535?

The fact is: Form DS-5535 pertains exclusively to non-immigrant and immigrant visa applicants. This does not mean, however, that every applicant will be required to complete the form. The Department of State estimates that only around 0.5% of all visa applicants worldwide will be affected. That amounts to around 65,000 people per year.   

For the next 6 months, the Form DS-5535 will be exclusively used in the consular visa application process. As of now, the use of this form will be in full force until November 2017. If the form proves to be effective in increasing national security then it could be permanently implemented into the visa application process. Beforehand, however, an entry must be published in the Federal Register. 

What sort of personal information will be asked for?

The consular officer examines each case individually and decides which applicants must give supplementary information. This additional information can be given either orally or in written form during an interview appointment at a U.S. consulate. The form requires applicants to provide the following information: 

  • Detailed travel history for the last 15 years as well as the source of funding;
  • Address history and contact persons for the last 15 years;
  • Employment history for the last 15 years;
  • All passport numbers and the country of issuance ever held by the 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 or former spouses and civil or domestic partners;
  • Provide information on all social media platforms used in the last 5 years;
  • All phone numbers and e-mail addresses used for the last 5 years. 

Principally, applicants are not required to answer and can enter N/A (not applicable) into any field they do not wish to answer. Failing to provide answers, however, will most likely lead to your visa application being refused or delayed. For this reason, it is advisable to complete the form in full. According to U.S. authorities, completing the DS-5535 should only take an additional 60 minutes. Should you require assistance when applying for a U.S. visa, please do not hesitate to contact our visa experts for a consultation.