US requires social media info from nearly all visa applicants
U.S. Department of State is now requiring nearly all applicants for U.S. visas to submit their social media details.
In a report by the Associated Press, the State Department has updated the immigrant and nonimmigrant visa forms to request the additional information, including “social media identifiers,” from almost all U.S. applicants. This includes social media usernames, previous email addresses, and phone numbers.
In June 2017, the Trump administration approved revised visa application forms that require the applicant’s social media handles for the last 5 years. At that time, the State Department said that the tighter background checks will only apply to those “who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities.”
Then in March 2018, the department proposed to include the requirement in immigrant and nonimmigrant visa forms, which is expected to affect about 15 million foreigners who apply for visas to enter the US each year.
“National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications, and every prospective traveler and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening,” the department said. “We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect U.S. citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.”
Only applicants for certain diplomatic and official visa types are exempted from the requirements.
source: AP News