Trump Administration May Retain Visa-Applicant Questionnaire to Better-Vet Visitors
The Trump administration will likely make the questionnaire it rolled out in May a mainstay of vetting new visa applicants.
The questionnaire requires some would-be visitors to the US to provide their prior passport numbers, five years’ worth of social media handles, email addresses, and phone numbers, and 15 years of biographical information (this includes email addresses, employment and travel history).
The purpose of collecting such information is to “more rigorously evaluate applicants for terrorism, national security-related, or other visa-ineligibilities.”
According to Reuters, the State Department declined to say how many times the form has been used, or to which nationalities it was given. However, they did estimate that only 65,000 visa applicants “present a threat profile” warranting the additional screening—that is, the vast majority of those entering America will never have to deal with this (annoying) questionnaire.
It is reserved for those who may pose a credible threat to the safety of Americans.
This comes on the heels of President Trump endorsing the RAISE Act, which would cut legal immigration into America by up to 50%, and is part of a broader program of repairing America’s broken borders.
Of course, the question is whether or not the questionnaire is worth it, or is it just an unnecessary hassle? Time will tell, however it is difficult to argue that having more complete information regarding potential security threats is a bad thing—especially when said information will not inconvenience American citizens (who clearly do not need visas).
It is worth giving a shot—there is upside potential with no negative risk.