Visa Security Program

Visa Security Program

Homeland Security Investigations' (HSI) Office of International Affairs coordinates the Visa Security Program, which deploys HSI special agents with immigration law enforcement expertise to diplomatic posts worldwide to conduct visa security activities, such as:

  • Examining visa applications for fraud,
  • Initiating investigations,
  • Coordinating with law enforcement partners, and
  • Providing law enforcement training and advice to Department of State consulates.

The Visa Security Program interdicts criminals, terrorists and others who would exploit the legal visa process to enter the United States. The program serves as the agency's frontline in protecting the United States against terrorist and criminal organizations. While many security measures focus on screening names against lists of known terrorist or criminal suspects, the program relies on HSI special agents to identify potential terrorist or criminal suspects and stop them before they can reach the United States.

Program Success

July 2009

HSI special agents identified an Iranian national who applied for a visitor's visa to come to the United States to attend an information technology conference on behalf of his employer. Although the Security Advisory Opinion process did not rule the Iranian national ineligible, HSI's review revealed that the Iranian national's employer was an Office of Foreign Assets Control-designated organization. The Iranian government allegedly uses these organizations to transfer money to terrorist groups, including Hezbollah, Hamas, etc. HSI recommended that the Department of State deny the visa on national security grounds. The Department of States complied with HSI's recommendation.

September 2008

The Department of State raised concerns about visa applicants sponsored by an international non-governmental sports group. HSI investigated and determined that the majority of applicants sponsored by the group remained in the United States beyond their period of admission. Additionally, the sport group's president had three previous visa denials, with one on national security grounds. HSI disseminated information about this group to partner agencies in an effort to prevent future potential security threats from gaining access to the United States.