[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 85 (Thursday, May 4, 2017)]
[Pages 20956-20957]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-08975]



[Public Notice: 9984]

Notice of Information Collection Under OMB Emergency Review: 
Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants

ACTION: Notice of request for emergency OMB approval and public 


SUMMARY: The Department of State has submitted the information 
collection request described below to the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the emergency 
review procedures of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The purpose 
of this notice is to allow for public comment from all interested 
individuals and organizations. Emergency review and approval of this 
collection has been requested from OMB by May 18. If granted, the 
emergency approval is only valid for 180 days.

ADDRESSES: Direct any comments on this emergency request to both the 
Department of State Desk Officer in the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and to 
Bureau of Consular Affairs, Visa Office.
    All public comments must be received by May 18.
    You may submit comments to OMB by the following methods:
     Email: [email protected]. You must include the 
DS form number (if applicable), information collection title, and OMB 
control number in the subject line of your message.
     Fax: 202-395-5806. Attention: Desk Officer for Department 
of State.
    You may submit comments to Bureau of Consular Affairs, Visa Office 
by the following methods:
     You may submit comments to Bureau of Consular Affairs, 
Visa Office by the following methods:
     Web: Persons with access to the Internet may comment on 
this notice by going to www.Regulations.gov. You can search for the 
document by entering ``Docket Number: DOS-2017-0019'' in the Search 
field. Then click the ``Comment Now'' button and complete the comment 
     Email: [email protected]. You must include 
Emergency Submission Comment on ``Supplemental Questions for Visa 
Applicants'' in the subject line of your message.
    You must include the DS form number (if applicable) information 
collection title, and the OMB control number in any correspondence.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Direct requests for additional 
information regarding the collection listed in this notice, including 
requests for copies of the proposed collection instrument and 
supporting documents to [email protected].

     Title of Information Collection: Supplemental Questions 
for Visa Applicants.
     OMB Control Number: New.
     Type of Request: Emergency Review.

[[Page 20957]]

     Originating Office: Bureau of Consular Affairs, Visa 
Office (CA/VO).
     Form Number: DS-5535.
     Respondents: Immigrant and nonimmigrant visa applicants 
who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection 
with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities.
     Estimated Number of Respondents: 65,000 respondents.
     Estimated Number of Responses: 65,000 responses.
     Average Time per Response: 60 minutes.
     Total Estimated Burden Time: 65,000 annual hours.
     Frequency: Once per respondent's application.
     Obligation to Respond: Required to Obtain or Retain a 
    We are soliciting public comments to permit the Department to:
     Evaluate whether the proposed information collection is 
necessary for the proper functions of the Department.
     Evaluate the accuracy of our estimate of the time and cost 
burden of this proposed collection, including the validity of the 
methodology and assumptions used.
     Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected.
     Minimize the reporting burden on those who are to respond, 
including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of 
information technology.
    Please note that comments submitted in response to this Notice are 
public records. Before including any detailed personal information, you 
should be aware that your comments as submitted, including your 
personal information, will be available for public review.

Abstract of Proposed Collection

    The Department proposes requesting the following information, if 
not already included in an application, from a subset of visa 
applicants worldwide, in order to more rigorously evaluate applicants 
for terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities:
     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 
     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.
    Most of this information is already collected on visa applications 
but for a shorter time period, e.g. five years rather than fifteen 
years. Requests for names and dates of birth of siblings and, for some 
applicants, children are new. The request for social media identifiers 
and associated platforms is new for the Department of State, although 
it is already collected on a voluntary basis by the Department of 
Homeland Security (DHS) for certain individuals. Regarding travel 
history, applicants may be requested to provide details of their 
international or domestic (within their country of nationality) travel, 
if it appears to the consular officer that the applicant has been in an 
area while the area was under the operational control of a terrorist 
organization as defined in section 212(a)(3)(B)(vi) of the Immigration 
and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(3)(B)(vi). Applicants may be 
asked to recount or explain the details of their travel, and when 
possible, provide supporting documentation.
    This information collection implements the directive of the 
President, in the Memorandum for the Secretary of State, the Attorney 
General, the Secretary of Homeland Security of March 6, 2017, to 
implement additional protocols and procedures focused on ``ensur[ing] 
the proper collection of all information necessary to rigorously 
evaluate all grounds of inadmissibility or deportability, or grounds 
for the denial of other immigration benefits.'' Consular posts 
worldwide regularly engage with law enforcement and intelligence 
community partners to identify sets of post applicant populations 
warranting increased scrutiny. The additional information collected 
will facilitate consular officer efforts to immediately apply more 
rigorous evaluation of these applicants for potential visa 
ineligibilities. In accordance with existing authorities, visas may not 
be denied on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, 
political views, gender, or sexual orientation.
    The estimated number of respondents represents the estimate of 
relevant State Department officials that 0.5% of U.S. visa applicants 
worldwide, or in the range of 65,000 individuals per annum, will 
present a threat profile, based on individual circumstances and 
information they provide, that will lead U.S. consular officers at 
posts around the world to conclude the applicant warrants enhanced 
screening that takes into account the information that is proposed to 
be collected. The estimate will be updated in the next request to 
continue collecting the information based on experience reported by 
overseas posts. Failure to provide requested information will not 
necessarily result in visa denial, if the consular officer determines 
the applicant has provided a credible explanation why he or she cannot 
answer a question or provide requested supporting documentation, such 
that the consular officer is able to conclude that the applicant has 
provided adequate information to determine the applicant's eligibility 
to receive the visa. The collection of social media platforms and 
identifiers will not be used to deny visas based on applicants' race, 
religion, ethnicity, national origin, political views, gender, or 
sexual orientation.


    Department of State consular officers at visa-adjudicating posts 
worldwide will ask the proposed additional questions to resolve an 
applicant's identity or to vet for terrorism or other national security 
related visa ineligibilities when the consular officer determines that 
the circumstances of a visa applicant, a review of a visa application, 
or responses in a visa interview indicate a need for greater scrutiny. 
The additional questions may be sent electronically to the applicant or 
be presented orally or in writing at the time of the interview. 
Consular officers will not request user passwords and will not attempt 
to subvert any privacy controls the applicants may have implemented on 
social media platforms. Consular officers are directed not to engage or 
interact with individuals on or through social media; not to violate or 
attempt to violate individual privacy settings; and not to use social 
media or assess an individual's social media presence beyond 
established Department guidance.

David T. Donahue,
Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Department of 
[FR Doc. 2017-08975 Filed 5-3-17; 8:45 am]