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June 30 2017

Explanation of Extreme Vetting for Muslim EB-5 Immigrants

I said in my last newsletter that it was not clear if new extreme vetting procedures would be applied to EB-5 immigrant visa applicants from the six Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. By extreme vetting, I am referring to the review of the immigrant’s social media, employment history, etc.

I received the answer – yes it is. One of my EB-5 clients appeared for his immigrant visa interview the day before yesterday at an American Consul in the Middle East. The Consul was very cordial and professional, and told my client that his EB-5 application was thoroughly documented and appeared to be approvable, but the visa could not be issued until “administrative processing” was complete. He was provided with the following extreme vetting list of questions to answer:

“As part of your administrative processing, please provide the following information:

Type this information directly in the body of the email, NOT as an attachment. Please do NOT use a table format. 

1. List all countries you have traveled to (other than your country of residence) in the last 15 years. For each trip, provide details for locations visited, dates visited, source of funds, and length of stay.

2. List all of your previous and/or current passport number(s) and country of issuance.

3. List all names and dates of birth of all immediate relatives not recorded in your visa application, including:

Siblings (brothers and sisters): full, half, step, adopted, living or deceased;

Children: minor and adult, living or deceased; and

Spouse: current or previous spouse or civil/domestic partner, living or deceased. 

4. List all of your addresses during the last 15 years, if different from your current address, including dates of residence. Please include street address, city, and country.

5. List all phone numbers, email addresses, and social media account user names (e.g. IMO, Telegram, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Viber, Snapchat, etc.) you have used in the last 5 years. Do NOT provide any account passwords!

 6. List the following information for all of your employment history in the last 15 years:

Employer name

Dates of employment

Address and telephone number

Job title

Job description

The Consul predicted it would take 6 months for administrative processing to be completed before the EB-5 immigrant visa would be issued.


More on Supreme Court Order on the Trump Travel Ban

My EB-5 client, who appeared for his immigrant visa interview the day before yesterday, gave the Consul a letter I prepared. It argued that the Supreme Court’s order on the Trump Travel Ban should allow an EB-5 investor to be admitted, as such an investor has ties to a U.S. entity, a permissible group which the Court said could not be subject to the ban. My client reported that the Consul agreed with my opinion.

What is perplexing to me is that the Supreme Court did not dismiss Trump’s appeal as moot. As you can see by the new Form DS-5535 (addressed in my last newsletter) and the Consul’s email above, there are already extreme vetting procedures in place. The travel ban is to take effect for 90 days to create extreme vetting procedures, and 120 days for to create vetting procedures for refugees. The first travel ban was issued in January and the second in March. The necessary time needed to create the new vetting procedures has passed and they seem to be in place. Thus, the ban is no longer needed and the purpose of the ban is moot, unless the Trump administration can demonstrate otherwise. Without further information, it seems all this is now just media grandstanding.

One commentator said that the Supreme Court is normally very reluctant to enjoin a President, and Trump only got three votes on the Court to overturn the ban’s injunction completely. That commentator believes this may be a bad sign for Trump’s eventual success. I am not so sure.