The U.S. Department of State uses the so-called DS-5535 as part of the consular process to request missing information from visa applicants. The purpose of this questionnaire is to assist consular officers in determining whether an applicant poses a potential security threat.
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Who must complete the DS-5535?

The DS-5535 Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants is an internal form or questionnaire that asks for additional information. The DS-5535 may apply to both nonimmigrant and immigrant visa applicants.

The DS-5535 is used whenever the U.S. consulate wants to subject the visa application to additional verification - i.e., beyond the information provided in the standard application form. The U.S. visa is then initially rejected in accordance with section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and submitted to a so-called administrative processing subjected to a further security check. In the course of this further security check, applicants must provide any missing or additional information using the DS-5535 form. Based on the information provided, the U.S. consulate will then make a final decision on the visa application.

U.S. consular officers usually decide directly on the day of the interview which applicants must complete the DS-5535 and provide additional information on the visa application. Often, missing information on the application is obtained during the interview by the U.S. consular officer, or the applicant is asked to provide additional information.

The Department of State (DOS) estimates that only 0.5 percent of claimants worldwide are affected, or about 65,000 people annually.

In contrast to the forms DS-160 or DS-260, the DS-5535 form is not automatically and mandatorily required to be submitted by all applicants.

DS-5535 Formular für zusätzliche Informationen

Where and how is the DS-5535 filled out?

The DS-5535 form must be completed online. On the day of the appointment, the applicant will be given a note including a QR code and website link requesting a response.

Via this QR code or by entering the website link, visa applicants are taken directly to the visa navigator. Here, the missing information is entered in an online form.

The estimated time required to complete the DS-5535 is approximately 60 minutes, according to US authorities.

What information must be entered in the DS-5535?

The DS-5535 questionnaire consists of several questions and different sections.

Name, date of birth and visa category applied for

Details of all current and invalid passports and listing of all travel in the last 15 years, including details of destinations, duration of travel, source of funds

If applicable, names and dates of birth of all siblings, children, and spouses or life partners

Address and contact information for the last 15 years

Telephone numbers at which one could be reached in the last five years (including primary, secondary, work, home, and cell phone numbers)

E-mail addresses at which you could be reached in the last five years

Information on the use of social media channels within the last five years

Professional career within the last 15 years

If applicants feel that certain questions in the form are not related to the visa application, they can be marked N/A (not applicable). However, it is advisable to justify this here.

Based on the information provided by the applicant, additional evidence may be requested by the US consulate (e.g., employment reference, airline ticket, etc.).

What happens after filling out the DS-5535?

Unfortunately, the processing process can take several weeks, sometimes months, and can cause significant delays in the application process. Applicants can obtain information on the U.S. State Department's website on the application processing status.

If the visa application is approved, the applicant will be asked to send the passport to the US consulate for visa issuance. Unfortunately, visa applicants are not always actively notified of a rejection.

When and why was the DS-5535 introduced?

The form DS-5535 is result

  1. a directive from former US President Trump on March 6, 2017, to improve the vetting of visa applicants; and
  2. an internal directive issued March 17, 2017, to US consulates worldwide regarding ensuring more comprehensive screening of applicants.

A direct link to former President Trump's suspended Executive Order of January 27, 2017 can certainly be seen. As with the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, the focus is on (dual) nationals of the following countries:

  • Iraq
  • Iran
  • Yemen
  • Libya
  • North Korea
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • Syria

But other nationalities are also more affected, such as Russia or China. In addition, previous travel to countries that are problematic for the United States can also lead to additional security screening.

The DS-5535 was initially to be implemented for a period of six months and used exclusively in the consular application process. However, the use of the DS-5535 was extended for another three years and thus continued to be used to retrieve additional information.

Under the current US President Joe Biden, the responsible US authorities had reviewed the DS-5535 form for usefulness or efficiency during a transitional phase of 120 days. The DS-5535 form can now be filled out as an online questionnaire and will most likely remain in use in the future.

Our recommendation

To avoid rejection or delay of the visa application, it is advisable to provide the subsequently requested information truthfully and completely.

If you need assistance with your visa application, you can always contact our visa experts.

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