If you’re applying for a U.S. visa anytime soon, be prepared to provide your social media details for screening purposes. According to the U.S. State Department, the new rule was first proposed in March 2018 and is an enhancement to the screening of potential immigrants and visitors.
According to a report from the Associated Press, the updated visa application forms list a number of social media platforms and an applicant is required to provide any account names that they may have had over the previous five years. Applicants are also given the option to provide information on other social media accounts not listed in the form.
Apart from giving information on social media accounts, the report stated that visa applicants will also be asked for five years of previously used telephone numbers, email addresses, international travel and deportation status, and if any family member has been involved in terrorist activities.
The department said, “National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications, and every prospective traveler and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening. 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.”
The new rule applies to all applicants for immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. It is also expected to affect 15 million foreigners who apply for a U.S. visa each year. Those who are exempted from providing their social media details apply for certain diplomatic and official visa types.
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