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U.S. considering upped screening measures for certain visa applicants

When a person from another country is pursuing a U.S. visa, it can be very important for them to understand what the application process is and what will be expected of them during the various stages of this process. There are many different types of visas here in the United States. What rules and processes apply for a person when they are pursuing a U.S. visa depends on what particular type of visa they are requesting. It can also be impacted by a range of other factors. Skilled immigration lawyers can advise visa-seekers on the rules and processes that apply to their particular visa application and guide them through the various steps of the application process.

There could be some added steps/requirements for some visa applicants in the not-too-distant future. The U.S. Department of State proposed a new set of upped screening measures. The proposed new measures would not apply to all visa applicants, but rather would only be used for applicants deemed to warrant added scrutiny. It is estimated that this would end up being around 0.5 percent of all visa applicants.

Under the upped screening measures, applicants would be subject to some added requirements regarding what information they are to supply to authorities. Among the additional information they would be required to submit are their social media handles from the past five years and biographical information from the past 15 years. Reportedly, if a person who didn’t provide some of the additional information were to give a "credible explanation" as to why they weren’t able to give this information, they could still qualify for a visa.

The proposed added screening measures have drawn some criticism. Some individuals have expressed concerns that the measures could be too time-consuming and might put too big of a burden on applicants. Some have also questioned how effective the measures would be at achieving their security aims.

One wonders if these added screening measures will ultimately be put into force. If they are, one wonders what the measures will end up looking like in practice.

Source: Reuters, “State Dept. seeks tougher visa scrutiny, including social media checks,” Yeganeh Torbati and Mica Rosenberg, May 4, 2017

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