US now demands social media details from all visa applicants

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Visa applicants will have to provide all their social media usernames

The State Department is presently requiring almost all candidates for U.S. visas to present their social media usernames, past emails and telephone numbers. It’s an immense extension of the Trump administration’s improved screening of potential immigrants and visitors.

The State Department regulations say people will have to submit social media names and five years’ worth of email addresses and phone numbers.

When proposed last year, authorities estimated the proposal would affect 14.7 million people annually.

In a move that is simply produced results after the endorsement of the changed application frames, the office says it has refreshed its immigrant and nonimmigrant visa structures to demand the extra data, including “social media handles,” from practically all U.S. applicants.

The change, which was proposed in March 2018, is expected to affect about 15 million foreigners who apply for visas to enter the United States each year.

“National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications, and every prospective traveller 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.”

However, people travelling to the US to work or to study will have to hand over their information.

“We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect US citizens while supporting legitimate travel to the United States,” the department reportedly said.

Social media, email and telephone number histories had just been looked for in the past from applicants who were recognized for additional investigations, for example, individuals who’d made a trip to regions constrained by terrorist associations. An expected 65,000 applicants for every year had fallen into that classification.

The new rules apply to virtually all applicants for immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. When it filed its initial notice to make the change, the department estimated it would affect 710,000 immigrant visa applicants and 14 million nonimmigrant visa applicants, including those who want to come to the U.S. for business or education.

As only applicants for certain diplomatic and official visa types are exempted from the requirements.