The Department of State has requested “emergency” approval from the Office of Management and Budget for a new questionnaire which some applicants for U.S. visas would be required to complete.
The questions on the proposed new “long form” for disfavored visa applicants would include:
- Travel history during the last fifteen years, including source of funding for travel [how many frequent business travelers would be able to provide a complete and accurate 15-year retrospective itinerary of their travels?];
- 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 [for an unspecified time period, so perhaps meaning for your entire life];
- 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.
Applicants required to complete this form could include tourists and other short-stay visitors (business, visiting friend and relatives, etc.) as well as applicants for work, student, refugee, or other visas.
As with the “long form” supplemental questionnaire for U.S. citizens applying for passports, some but not all applicants for visas to visit or reside in the U.S. will be required to complete the proposed new form. The State Department says it expects to require about 65,000 people a year, or half a percent of all applicants for U.S. visas, to complete the proposed new long from.
As with the long form passport application, there are no publicly-disclosed standards or procedures for judicial review of decisions by State Department staff to require particular individuals to complete the long form. Those decisions would be “discretionary”, meaning that they would be arbitrary and could be discriminatory.
Most people would be unable to provide complete answers to some of the questions on the long from, or would inevitably leave things out or make mistakes that would provide a basis for denial of their application. The proposed “discretionary” long form is thus a pretext for arbitrarily selective denial of entry to the U.S., at the whim of State Department staff and/or on the basis of secret pre-crime algorithms, as well as of arbitrarily selective surveillance of certain foreign citizens.
Comments on the “emergency” proposal for this new questionnaire can be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget through May 18, 2017.