The Office of the Press Secretary at the White House has issued a directive to US Embassies asking them to heighten screening and vetting protocols and procedures before issuing visas. Every applicant has to go through a mandatory interview process at his local US Embassy office before being granted a visa to travel to the United States. As per the new, more rigorous process an applicant may be questioned regarding his travel history, prior passports, addresses and work history for 15 years; the names of siblings, children or former spouses; and all phone numbers, email addresses and social media handles used by the applicant in the past five years.
In the administration’s emphatic effort to protect the borders and establish additional scrutiny of people seeking to travel to the US, this new directive came on the heel of the travel ban that was halted by judges in Maryland and Hawaii. In addition, the embassies have been given a wider latitude to create their own criteria for putting applicants through more rigorous screening as well. Although this is expected to create further delays in the already slow approval process that can currently take months or even years for some applicants, the bigger risk is an increase in the likelihood of denial for those seeking to come to America.
Although these directives exempt some European countries that fall under the Visa Waiver program, officials elsewhere can request the additional information when they determine “that such information is required to confirm identity or conduct more rigorous national security vetting”. To know more about what to expect during a US visa interview process, you may check out “US Visa Interview Process”.