“Extreme Vetting” and the Use of Form DS-5535

In 2017, the Trump Administration began the implementation of an “extreme vetting” program for certain foreign nationals requesting admission to the United States. As part of this program, a foreign national applying for a visa at a U.S. consulate abroad may be asked to complete a new form requesting additional information about the person’s background (form DS-5535). The purpose of this form is “to more rigorously evaluate applicants for terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities.”

Reasons for Completion of Form DS-5535

Completion of the DS-5535 form is required of a visa applicant if the consular officer determines that the added layer of security screening is necessary. It is not entirely clear what type of information in a person’s record could result in the consular officer requiring this added security check.

Information Required for Form DS-5535

The form asks extensive information about the applicant, such as details on all trips to any country in the preceding 15 years. It also requests information about the applicant’s family members, social media accounts, and employment history.

Timeframe for Processing the DS-5535

After the information has been submitted, many of the security checks are cleared within approximately 60 days. However, some checks may take longer, and there is always a possibility that a portion of these checks could drag on indefinitely. Since the associated delay in processing the form is a security issue, there is no set timeframe or method to expedite the process.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.