K-1 and CR-1 visa applicants as well as other intending immigrants and visitors at U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world, as of June (and ongoing until November and perhaps permanently), are currently being subjected to enhanced vetting.
In addition to the standard questions asked of visa applicants, a new, 3 page supplemental questionnaire has been added to the screening process. Consular officers are going back 15 years into an applicant’s history to help determine if an applicant is eligible for a U.S. visa. Passport numbers, travel histories (including the source of payment for international travel—that’s new), employment history, residential addresses, as well as the names of spouses and partners, are all standard inquiries. This information was always asked, but for 5 years back in time, not fifteen.
The most telling sign of the times is the request for the applicant’s social media accounts used in the last 5 years. Inflammatory user names or subversive messaging used by visa applicants in the past (and certainly currently) will probably have a negative impact on an applicant’s overall eligibility for a U.S. visa.
But here’s the catch: Responding to some of the questions are voluntary. However, be advised, declining to answer will certainly cause your application to be delayed while the government conducts “administrative processing” of your case.
So if you are one of the yearly estimated 65,000 visa applicants worldwide subjected to this enhanced vetting, answer the questions honestly, explain in context any and all red-flag issues and always remember with U.S. immigration law, though you may not be able to “fix” your past, time can “cure” defects.
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