US visas become harder as new rules come into place

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WASHINGTON, March 31 (APP): The process to get American visas
is set to become even harder and longer as the new US
administration has ordered stringent security checks and
screening for tourists and people seeking travel for business or
meeting their relatives in the Untied States.
US Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson had sent diplomatic
cables last week to US embassies around the world, instructing
consular offices to increase scrutiny in the first sign of
President Trump’s intention to introduce `extreme vetting’ as
part of counter-terrorism efforts.
`All visa decisions are national security decisions’, the
Secretary of State was quoted as saying in cables by news
reports.
President Trump’s two executive orders to ban travelers from
six Muslim countries are on hold due to some federal court
rulings on the basis of being discriminatory. But this has not
prevented to the new administration to go with its plan to make
it difficult for travelers from countries which are not covered
under visa waiver program.
Citing diplomatic cables sent to American embassies across
the globe, the intending visa seekers will face intense inquiry
about the applicant’s travel history, addresses, working history,
phone numbers, email addresses and social media handles used by
the applicant in the past five years.
New security checks will not be applicable to the citizens
of 38 countries which are covered under the visa waiver program.
These include most of Europe and old allies like Australia, New
Zealand, Japan and South Korea. Their applications will continue
to be speedily processed.
People from countries from the Middle East, Asia or Africa
will be hard hit from the new hardened security measures as the
visa waiver program does not cover these regions.
There have not been any specific orders as to who will be
subjected to more intense level of scrutiny as the cables sent
the embassies have left it on the officials to decide, though the
new measures are being introduced amid concern over threats from
terrorism.
Immigration advocates say the new measures will make it even
harder for those seeking to come to America, further slowing down
the bureaucratic approval process which even now takes years to
decide on the immigration cases.
The United States issued more than 10 million visas in 2016.
While some will legitimately face tough scrutiny owing to
evidence of a connection to terrorism or crime, immigration
advocates fear national or name could become reasons for extra
scrutiny.
`This will certainly slow down the screening process and
impose a substantial burden on these applicants’. It will make it
much harder and create substantial delays’, the NYT report said
quoting Greg Chen, the director of advocacy for the American
Immigration Lawyers Association.