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Immigration to USA : Practice Pointer Completing and Submitting Form (DS-5535)

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Published   04:07 AM 2 April 2018
Updated    04:10 AM 2 April 2018

Form DS-5535, "Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants," is a new Department of State (DOS) form requesting extensive personal information for visa applicants, including address history, family information, employment history, and social media history.

The form requests user names and handles for all social media platforms the applicant has used in the last 5 years "as part of a public profile."

The DOS Visa Office has confirmed that there are no set criteria, such as national origin, military training, criminal history, etc., that would require completion of the form. As has always been the case, the consular officer will determine whether additional information is required as a result of information learned during the course of the interview. While officers in the past may have asked for this information in various forms (email, post-specific forms, etc.), posts are now using Form DS-5535 to collect this information. In addition to giving consular officers the discretion to request the form, the Visa Office has authorized each post to collect Forms DS-5535 in the manner most convenient based on workflow and IT infrastructure at the post and in the host country. For example, some posts ask that the form be emailed to a specific address, while others require it to be returned to the post in person or by mail.

AILA has received reports of applicants being told that the DS-5535 must be completed during the interview and submitted at the window before the applicant leaves the post. The Visa Office has confirmed that this should not be the case. As the form requests information going back 15 years, it is not generally feasible to ask applicants to complete it on the spot. Therefore, applicants who are required to complete a DS-5535 may have their applications refused under INA §221(g) and submit the form at a later time. The Visa Office agreed to remind posts of this procedure so that applicants are afforded an opportunity to ensure the information provided on the DS-5535 is complete and accurate.

While the DS-5535 will only be accepted at the discretion of the consular officer, AILA recommends preparing the form in advance for clients from countries of interest or who have issues that may warrant extra data collection. Completing the form in advance is the best practice, even if the form is ultimately not required, to ensure that the applicant is as well prepared as possible for the interview.

Source : The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)

We will continue to monitor the new procedure for U.S. visa applicants closely and carefully.

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