In true presidential fashion, President Trump tweeted over the weekend that his administration will begin to conduct “extreme vetting” of visa applicants under the pretense of improving national security. This vetting process will be implemented through the consular officers’ use of the new Form DS-5535, which the Department of State approved last month.
The new form is essentially a supplemental questionnaire that consular officers who review applications for U.S. visas may require visa applicants to complete. The questionnaire is three pages long and requests that applicants provide their passports and travel history (i.e., countries to which the applicants have traveled) for the past 15 years. The questionnaire also requires the applicants to disclose the source of the funds that they used to finance those trips. In addition to the travel history information, the form asks for the applicant’s past 15 years of addresses, employment positions, and spouses. Perhaps the most widely criticized part of the new questionnaire is that it also asks for the applicant’s user names or user handles that they have used in social media accounts in the past five years.