Tougher visa scrutiny with social media checks

May 5, 2017 | Citizenship

As a Miami immigration lawyer and an Miami immigration lawyer, I read with interest that the U.S. Department of State has proposed tougher questioning of visa applicants believed to warrant extra scrutiny, according to a document published this week, in a push toward the “extreme vetting” that President Donald Trump has said is necessary to prevent terrorist attacks. Below are some frequently asked questions.

I am applying for a visa. How will this affect me?
Questions about social media accounts would be part of the stepped-up criteria, which would apply to 65,000 people per year, or about 0.5 percent of U.S. visa applicants worldwide, the State Department estimated. It did not target nationals of any particular countries. If you have any questions in regard to this, you may want to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer or an Miami immigration lawyer.

How will the U.S. State Department go about additionally screening visa applicants?
A set of new questions would apply to visa applicants “who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities,” the State Department said in a notice to the Federal Register. If you have any questions in regard to this, you should speak with a Miami immigration attorney or an Austin immigration attorney.

What will these visa applicants be required to provide?
These applicants would be required to provide all prior passport numbers, five years’ worth of social media handles, email addresses and phone numbers, as well as 15 years of biographical information, when applying for a U.S. visa. If you have any questions in regard to this, you should speak with a Miami immigration lawyer or an Miami immigration lawyer.

Why does the government want more stringent vetting for certain individuals?
According to a State Department official, collecting additional information from visa applicants whose circumstances suggest a need for further scrutiny will strengthen our process for vetting these applicants and confirming their identity. If you have any questions in regard to this, you may want to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer or an Miami immigration lawyer.

What else does the State Department’s proposal say?
The State Department’s proposal also says that applicants may be asked to provide additional travel dates if a consular officer determines they have been in an area which was “under the operational control of a terrorist organization.”

Why do many immigration lawyers and advocates oppose this?
Immigration lawyers and advocates say the request for 15 years of detailed biographical information, as well as the expectation that applicants remember all their social media handles, is likely to catch applicants who make innocent mistakes or do not remember all the information requested. They also question whether the time-consuming screening can achieve its intended goal of identifying potential terrorists. If you have any questions in regard to this, you may want to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer or an Miami immigration lawyer.

What are some of the after-effects of this stepped up social media screening?
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s cables anticipated delays as a result of the rules implementation. In addition this is  going to cause operations at a lot of consulates slow to a crawl. If you have any questions in regard to this, you may want to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer or an Miami immigration lawyer.

If you would like more information on applying for a visa, deportation defense, obtaining  U.S. citizenship, or obtaining a green card, please contact Miami immigration lawyer The Law Office of Tatiane M. Silva, P.A., Esq. at (305) 895-2500 or visit our website at tmsilvalaw.com.