Virginia, US

Feb 06 2018

President Trump Orders Creation of National Immigration Vetting Center

United States

At a Glance

  • The National Vetting Center is being established to facilitate greater interagency cooperation in the screening of applicants for immigration benefits and foreign nationals seeking admission to the United States.
  • The Center will not begin operating until the President approves an implementation plan, which the Department of Homeland Security must submit within six months.  The practical impact on applicants for visas, permanent residence and admission is not yet known.

The situation

President Trump today signed a memorandum ordering the creation of a National Vetting Center to coordinate security screening of applicants for immigration benefits and entry to the United States, and to facilitate information-sharing among federal immigration and intelligence agencies.

President Trump has given the Department of Homeland Security six months to create an implementation plan for the Center.  It will not begin operations until the President has approved the plan.

The establishment of the Center is the latest of the Trump Administration’s “extreme vetting” initiatives.  In mid-2017, the State Department implemented more searching visa application questions for foreign nationals deemed by a U.S. consulate to pose heightened security concerns.  In October, USCIS began conducting personal interviews of applicants for employment-based adjustment of status.

Impact on applicants for visas and other immigration benefits

The practical impact of the National Vetting Center on applicants for visas, permanent residence and other benefits is not yet known.  Applicants are already subject to intensive background checks, including biometrics collection and screening against federal law enforcement and national security databases; some may be flagged for additional screening based on their citizenship, country of birth, travel history or involvement with sensitive technologies.

When released, the Department of Homeland Security’s implementation plan should provide more insight into the impact of the National Vetting Center on screening procedures, requirements and duration.  Fragomen is closely monitoring the establishment of the Center and will provide updates as new information becomes available.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.