Immigration Law

AACRAO Urges Resistance to DOS Data Collection from Visa Applicants

[From an email dated May 16, 2017 from AACRAO]


We would like to draw your attention to the Notice of Information Collection under OMB Emergency Review: Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants (DS-5535), published at 82 Federal Register 20956 on May 4, 2017.

The notice, as proposed, calls for ten additional burdensome categories of data to be collected for an undefined subset of visa applicants. These include:

• 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;
• Phone numbers and email addresses used during the last five years

This data collection could lead to unacceptably long delays in processing and negatively impact the ability of students and scholars to obtain visas for study in the U.S. this fall. Of additional concern to AACRAO is the lack of information regarding the longer-term use, retention, or privacy protections for the information provided.

AACRAO has joined with partner associations to sign a letter (available in draft form here) to Acting Assistant Secretary Donohue that gives a detailed outline of our concerns with the proposed additional requirements for visa seekers.

What can you do? We urge you to offer your comments and share with interested colleagues as the comment period will end at 11:59 p.m. EST tomorrow (Thursday).


Melanie Gottlieb
Deputy Director, AACRAO"