DOS Issues Proposed Rules with 60 Day Comment Period; Elimination of B-1 in Lieu of H Visas and More Questions for Visa Applicants
October 21, 2020
The Department of State (DOS) published two new proposed rules in today’s Federal Register, each with a 60-day comment period.
- The DOS proposes elimination of the B-1 in lieu of H visa. If implemented, the new rule will mean that US consular posts will no longer be able to issue the “B-1 in lieu of H-1B” or “B-1 in lieu of H-3” visa stamps. Citing language in the existing regulations which it says are confusing about permissible activities in the US, the DOS says it “believes that eliminating any perceived gray are of acceptable local employment or labor for skilled foreign workers for the purpose of B-1 nonimmigrant visa issuance will better protect US workers’ economic interests…” pursuant to the Buy American, Hire American (BAHA) Executive Order.
- The DOS also proposes additional questions to the DS Form 5535, Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants. The proposed additional questions include:
- Travel history for past 15 years, including source of funding for travel
- Address history for past 15 years
- Employment history for past 15 years
- All passport numbers and country of issuance
- Names and dates of birth for all siblings
- Names and dates of birth for all children
- Names and dates of birth for all spouses and domestic partners
According to the DOS, these questions will promote the goal of increased vetting for visa ineligibility. The proposed rule will also allow DOS officials to request additional information to support an applicant’s answers and if an applicant has been in a territory which was under the “operational control of a terrorist organization.”