TCG joined the Performing Arts Visa Working Group is submitting a comment in response to the Department of State’s “30 Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Supplemental Questions for Visa Applicants” (89 FR 33437, 4/29/24), regarding Form DS-5535. This DOS proposal seeks to extend the use of the DS-5535. We strongly object to the form DS-5535 in its entirety, as well as to the supplementary questions that have been incorporated from the DS-5355 into the DS-160 (requiring applicants to provide all social media handles, phone numbers, and email addresses used during the last five years), because:

  • The “extreme vetting” questions on the DS-5535 exacerbate an artist visa process that is already unpredictable, arbitrary, unnecessarily burdensome, and an impediment to U.S. culture and commerce, especially with respect to its impact on U.S. arts organizations working with artists from Muslim-majority countries and the Global South;
  • The “discretionary” use of the form is prone to discriminatory abuse; and
  • The DS-5535 and amended DS-160 forms’ questions have a chilling effect on artistic expression and free speech.

Please read our full comment, and learn more about TCG's arts advocacy here