It was recently reported that Trump administration officials are considering subjecting visitors to a range of invasive measures, including searches of their mobile phones and contacts, mandatory disclosure of their social media passwords, and interrogation about their beliefs and opinions.
Applicants could be asked to do the following:
Hand over their phones so that their contact list and photos could be examined by embassy or consulate staff
Provide their social media handles and passwords so that both private and public posts can be viewed.
Provide 15 year’s worth of travel history, employment history and addresses
Pass an “ideological test” Potential questions might focus on the traveler’s view of society, and culture
Such screening could apply to travelers from ALL over the world, including allies that are among the 38 countries that are part of the visa waiver countries.
Embassies and consulates will be setting up protocols about how to work with law enforcement and local intelligence groups and determine what kind of criteria and scrutiny should be applied to certain types of applicants.
To make matters worse, the lack of published standards for this kind of scrutiny may lead to arbitrary decision-making by consular officers or customs officials at ports of entry.
It is likely to lead to more denials, even among applicants with genuine reasons to visit the United States. The decisions of consular officials are considered final and virtually never subject to appeal.
If you are a consular officer, given the pressures now applied to you from top down, if a case is close, you would rather deny a genuine applicant then approve a fraudulent one.
Heightened security procedures for vetting some visa applicants at U.S. embassies worldwide will likely cause long delays for would-be travelers as the government scrutinizes everything from work history to social media.
What happens Now
Extreme vetting in its present “under development” form is generating a lot of uncertainty. And uncertainty causes delay and possible problems due to probably last-minute changes in policy, especially on what evidences will be required for a visa to be approved.
In the future, it is likely that during the application process your privacy will be even more greatly invaded than it already is, including revelation of social media accounts, longer and more detailed travel and residence and work histories.
VisaCoach has ALWAYS applied the highest standard to selecting and presenting proofs and evidences we include in your VisaCoach crafted front-loaded application. I plan to continue this high standard (of course) and due to it’s already proven effectiveness, I do not anticipate that VisaCoach clients will run into problems, except for the unavoidable frustration caused by overall delays within the entire visa processing system.
Tips for success:
Take the high road and devote smart productive effort in following VisaCoach’s guidance in applying the highest standards to your application to demonstrate your relationship and you as individuals are sincere, honest and Bona Fide.
My best advice is simply Avoid the issue. Get in and OUT before the storm.
Extreme vetting is still in the planning stage. It has only been partially implemented for some countries, and not yet implemented across the full consular system. Taking immediate action now to build a strong case, and apply as soon as possible, can allow your foreign partner to arrive safely to the USA, before the stricter measures take effect.
By Fred Wahl