Wednesday, July 26, 2017

U.S. State Department Announces New Visa Vetting Procedures

The U.S. State Department has announced that it will require all nations to provide extensive data to help it vet visa applicants.  In a cable sent to all diplomatic posts on Wednesday, July 12, 2017, the State Department outlined its new information sharing standards, which require all foreign governments to share traveler information with the U.S. government.  The new standards will be implemented over a 50-day period.  

The State Department has instructed that all diplomatic posts are required to reach out to each country to notify them of these new sharing standards, and countries will have 50 days to come into compliance with these standards.  Nations that fail to comply could have their foreign nationals banned from entering the U.S., or face similar travel sanctions.  

Among the new requirements announced by the Department of State are biometric images on passports, and the provision of additional traveler information by foreign countries to the U.S., including biographical information, and criminal records.  The new guidance will also require, as a potential condition of accepting visitors from a given country, that the country accept all nationals that the U.S. wishes to deport to that country.  

Please see a report of the announcement as covered by Reuters, and the link above for a full transcript of the diplomatic cable.  For specific questions pertaining to your personal situation, please contact the SIL attorney with whom you have been working.   

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