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Agency Tracking No:
Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants
Type of Information Collection:
New collection (Request for a new OMB Control Number)
Common Form ICR:
Type of Review Request:
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OIRA Conclusion Action:
Approved with change
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6 Months From Approved
Time Burden (Hours)
Cost Burden (Dollars)
The Department proposes requesting the following information, if not already included in an application, from a subset of visa applicants worldwide, in order to more rigorously evaluate applicants for terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities: • Travel history during the last fifteen years, including source of funding for travel; • Address history during the last fifteen years; • Employment history during the last fifteen years; • All passport numbers and country of issuance held by the applicant; • Names and dates of birth for all siblings; • Name and dates of birth for all children; • Names and dates of birth for all current and former spouses, or civil or domestic partners; • Social media platforms and identifiers, also known as handles, used during the last five years; and • Phone numbers and email addresses used during the last five years. Most of this information is already collected on visa applications but for a shorter time period, e.g. five years rather than fifteen years. Requests for names and dates of birth of siblings and, for some applicants, children are new. The request for social media identifiers and associated platforms is new for the Department of State, although it is already collected on a voluntary basis by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for certain individuals. Regarding travel history, applicants may be requested to provide details of their international or domestic (within their country of nationality) travel, if it appears to the consular officer that the applicant has been in an area while the area was under the operational control of a terrorist organization as defined in section 212(a)(3)(B)(vi) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(3)(B)(vi). Applicants may be asked to recount or explain the details of their travel, and when possible, provide supporting documentation. This information collection implements the directive of the President, in the Memorandum for the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security of March 6, 2017, to implement additional protocols and procedures focused on “ensur[ing] the proper collection of all information necessary to rigorously evaluate all grounds of inadmissibility or deportability, or grounds for the denial of other immigration benefits.” Consular posts worldwide regularly engage with law enforcement and intelligence community partners to identify sets of post applicant populations warranting increased scrutiny. The additional information collected will facilitate consular officer efforts to immediately apply more rigorous evaluation of these applicants for potential visa ineligibilities. In accordance with existing authorities, visas may not be denied on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, political views, gender, or sexual orientation. The estimated number of recipients represents the estimate of relevant State Department officials that 0.005% of U.S. visa applicants worldwide, or in the range of 65,000 individuals per annum, will present a threat profile, based on individual circumstances and information they provide, that will lead U.S. consular officers at posts around the world to conclude the applicant warrants enhanced screening that takes into account the information that is proposed to be collected. The estimate will be updated in the next request to continue collecting the information based on experience reported by overseas posts. Failure to provide requested information will not necessarily result in visa denial, if the consular officer determines the applicant has provided a credible explanation why he or she cannot answer a question or provide requested supporting documentation, such that the consular officer is able to conclude that the applicant has provided adequate information to determine the applicant's eligibility to receive the visa.
On March 6, 2017, President Trump issued a Memorandum for the Secretary of State, the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security in which he directed the recipient Cabinet officials to, as permitted by law, “implement protocols and procedures as soon as practicable that in their judgment will enhance the screening and vetting of applications for visas and other immigration benefits, so as to increase the safety and security of the American people.” The United States, the President said in the Memorandum, “cannot delay the immediate implementation of additional heightened screening and vetting protocols and procedures for issuing visas to ensure that we strengthen the safety and security of our country.” In particular, the President instructed the relevant agencies to focus on “ensuring the proper collection of all information necessary to rigorously evaluate” individuals seeking U.S. visas or other immigration-related benefits. The accompanying proposed information collection sets out supplemental questions that Department of State consular officers at visa-adjudicating posts worldwide will ask when the consular officer determines that the circumstances of a visa applicant, a review of a visa application, or responses in a visa interview indicate a need for greater scrutiny and, for that purpose, the officer must collect the proposed additional information to resolve the applicant’s identity or to vet for terrorism or other national security related visa ineligibilities. Proposed additional questions cover prior passports; phone and e-mail contact information and social media identifiers and associated platforms over a five-year period; travel, address and employment history over a 15-year period (as against a five-year period in existing authorized collection); and the names and dates of birth of siblings and, for some applicants, children. Consular officers are already directed not to engage or interact with individuals on or through social media; not to violate or attempt to violate individual privacy settings; and not to use social media or assess an individual’s social media presence beyond established Department guidance. The same safeguards that protect a visa applicant’s personal information will remain in effect for social media identifiers. The collection of social media platforms and identifiers will not be used to deny visas based on applicants’ political views, national origin, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. Consular officers will be instructed not to request user passwords and not to attempt to subvert any privacy controls the applicants may have implemented on these platforms. Visa records remain confidential under section 222(f) of the INA, [8 U.S.C. § 1202(f)]. Adhering to ordinary time frames for review of newly proposed information collections would mean that these supplemental questions could not routinely be asked of the class of identified visa applicants for a matter of months. Such time for review would impede the purposes behind the Presidential Memorandum and its call for immediate steps including the proper collection of all information necessary to rigorously evaluate those applicants for potential visa ineligibilities.
Citations for New Statutory Requirements:
Associated Rulemaking Information
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Federal Register Citation:
Not associated with rulemaking
Federal Register Notices & Comments
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Number of Information Collection (IC) in this ICR:
SUPPLEMENTAL QUESTIONS FOR VISA APPLICANTS
SUPPLEMENTAL QUESTIONS FOR VISA APPLICANTS
ICR Summary of Burden
Change Due to New Statute
Change Due to Agency Discretion
Change Due to Adjustment in Estimate
Change Due to Potential Violation of the PRA
Annual Number of Responses
Annual Time Burden (Hours)
Annual Cost Burden (Dollars)
Burden increases because of Program Change due to Agency Discretion:
Burden Increase Due to:
Burden decreases because of Program Change due to Agency Discretion:
Burden Reduction Due to:
The additional questions for certain visa applicants are mandated by the President's Memorandum for the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security of March 6, 2017.
Annual Cost to Federal Government:
Does this IC contain surveys, censuses, or employ statistical methods?
Is the Supporting Statement intended to be a Privacy Impact Assessment required by the E-Government Act of 2002?
Is this ICR related to the Affordable Care Act [Pub. L. 111-148 & 111-152]?
Is this ICR related to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, [Pub. L. 111-203]?
Is this ICR related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)?
Hector Perez-Casillas 202 485-7637
Common Form ICR:
On behalf of this Federal agency, I certify that the collection of information encompassed by this request complies with 5 CFR 1320.9 and the related provisions of 5 CFR 1320.8(b)(3).
The following is a summary of the topics, regarding the proposed collection of information, that the certification covers:
(a) It is necessary for the proper performance of agency functions;
(b) It avoids unnecessary duplication;
(c) It reduces burden on small entities;
(d) It uses plain, coherent, and unambiguous language that is understandable to respondents;
(e) Its implementation will be consistent and compatible with current reporting and recordkeeping practices;
(f) It indicates the retention periods for recordkeeping requirements;
(g) It informs respondents of the information called for under 5 CFR 1320.8 (b)(3) about:
(i) Why the information is being collected;
(ii) Use of information;
(iii) Burden estimate;
(iv) Nature of response (voluntary, required for a benefit, or mandatory);
(v) Nature and extent of confidentiality; and
(vi) Need to display currently valid OMB control number;
(h) It was developed by an office that has planned and allocated resources for the efficient and effective management and use of the information to be collected.
(i) It uses effective and efficient statistical survey methodology (if applicable); and
(j) It makes appropriate use of information technology.
If you are unable to certify compliance with any of these provisions, identify the item by leaving the box unchecked and explain the reason in the Supporting Statement.