The Supplemental DS-157 Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form — only men need apply

August 18, 2011

By Carl Agustsson

NCFM Liaison Democratic Republic of Georgia

With the 10-year anniversary of the horrible attacks of September 11th right around the corner, I decided to write an article about one of its effects: the introduction of the Supplemental DS-157 Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form.  The existence of the Supplemental DS-157 form for nonimmigrant visa applications to visit the United States of America so outraged me that I decided to dedicate an entire chapter in the book I’m writing about the Men’s Movement to it.

Following the attacks of September 11, 2001 on the United States of America, the United States government introduced the Supplemental DS-157 visa application form.  What is infuriating about this form is that it is required of all male applicants between the ages of 16-45.  For citizens of four countries that are considered to be state sponsors of terrorism: Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria, the form is required of all applicants over the age of 16.

To quote the webpage of the State Department of the United States of America:

A Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-157 provides additional information about you travel plans.  Submission of this completed form is required for all male applicants between 16-45 years of age.  It is also required for all applicants from state sponsors of terrorism age 16 and over, irrespective of gender, without exception. [Emphasis in original]  (

While this form may look rather innocuous at first, as it is only on page long, it actually can be a long form to fill out.  The reason is that some of the questions, depending on the life experience of the individual, are quite long.  One such question (Question 9) is the requirement of listing every country visited in the last ten years including the year in which these countries were visited.  For those of us who travel the world frequently, that is a difficult question to answer.  For such people, the answer could easily include over 50 countries, many of which have been visited several times over the last ten years.

Another difficult question (Question 17) to answer is to list all of the schools and universities attended, excluding elementary schools.  This would not in and of itself be bad were it not for the fact that these young men are also required to list the addresses and telephone numbers of all of these institutions.  This can be a tedious and time consuming process.  What is obvious here is that they are trying to see whether the applicant has studied at a Muslim madrasa.  However, due to reasons of political correctness, they are not going to ask such a direct question.  Therefore, thousands of young male applicants who are clearly not a threat to anyone have to tediously look up the addresses and telephone numbers of all the places where they have studied, when their only crime was being male.

Probably the most ambiguous question (Question 13) is the one which requires that the applicant list all “Professional, Social and Charitable Organizations to Which You Belong (Belonged) or Contribute (Contributed) or with Which You Work (Have Worked)” (DS-157).  Can one not see how difficult it is for a man to remember every group to which he has ever had any connection to whatsoever?  Obviously, the point of this question is to determine whether the applicant has ever had any ties to any radical group.  But again, political correctness forbids such a direct question.  As a result, thousands of innocent young men are forced to answer a difficult, tedious, and ambiguous question.

Probably the silliest question (Question 12) is the one which asks the applicants to list the two previous jobs that they have held.  Again, it is also required to list the addresses and telephone numbers of these jobs.  What is ridiculous about this question is that even terrorists have respectable “day jobs”.

One other noteworthy question (Question 15) is the one asking the applicant whether he has ever done military service.  Think of how many men could unfortunately be able to answer “yes, but only because it was sexistly forced onto me”.

There is no question that the United States of America needed to do something following the attacks of September 11 in order to ensure that such an event never occurs again.  Indeed, a number of important steps were taken.  It is in large part thanks to some of these steps that the United States has not suffered another attack.  However, there is no need to be sexist about it.  What is visible here is the worse use of political correctness.  To have required this form of all Muslim applicants only would have been seen as discrimination.  However, requiring it on the basis of sex is—assuming of course that it goes against men!—apparently not discrimination.  Therefore, all men between the ages of 16 and 45 have been forced to fill out this ridiculous form.  This includes men from such allied countries as Poland and the Republic of Georgia, many of whom have served alongside the US military in the War on Terror.  This is an incredible insult to such close allies.  In the end, “doing something” just to say that something has been done is worse than doing nothing at all.  This stupid form does not make the United States of America any safer whatsoever.

It is also important to note that the Russians now require a separate visa application of all US citizens in which all of the above-mentioned questions are included.  One cannot blame the Russians for this.  Indeed, at least the Russians are not being sexist in their visa application form requirements, as all US citizens are required to fill out the longer form.

What is worse is the potential that this form has to set a nasty precedent.  While it may be true that this form—at least on the surface—does not make it more difficult for men to obtain US visas, that is not to say that some other country could not later make it more difficult or even impossible for men of a certain age (or women for that matter) to obtain visas.  It is also possible that countries may someday require visas of men of a certain age, whereas women would be allowed to travel visa free.  While it may be a bit of a stretch to suggest that something like that could ever happen, it was even more ridiculous prior to 2002 (the year in which this form was introduced) to think that there could ever be a case of a country introducing sexist visa application requirements.

What is particularly infuriating about this example is that, unlike other many of the other examples of sex discrimination against men—such as sexist military conscription laws—this cannot be blamed as simply being a holdover from an old system, as it was enacted in 2002.  The existence of this form therefore proves that the notion that it is acceptable to discriminate against men is sadly still alive.  Indeed, what is even more disturbing is the lack of controversy.

The good news is that the United States is slowly moving away from this form.  Increasingly, more and more US consulates around the world are adopting an online-based application—DS-160—one that is designed to replace all previous forms, including this supplemental DS-157 form.  Within a few years it is likely that this form will have thankfully disappeared.  This is a good thing for several reasons.  First all of, less paperwork is always a good thing.  More importantly, surly the United States of America does not want to project a sexist, anti-male imagine around the world.

NCFM NOTE: It is very difficult to understand how our elected officials and supposedly well educated federal employees come up with things like this. How likely is it they believed not one woman could be a terrorist or commit mayhem? Not very.  The only logical answer is political. Someone with power simply said not to include women.  Hence, for these purposes, all foreign men became the 9/11 scapegoats for the heinous actions of a few. It boggles the mind. Thank you Carl for this excellent piece on immigration and gender bias. I hope you are right, that is,such things being temporary.

Harry Crouch

President NCFM

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