The State Department is now requiring nearly all US visa applicants to provide their social media usernames, email addresses, and contact numbers. The rule is named as Social Media Identifiers. It is a part of the vast expansion of the Trump administration’s enhanced screening of potential immigrants and visitors.
The change was proposed back in March 2018 and expected to affect around 15 million foreigners who apply for visas to enter the United States each year. If you’re someone seeking for US visa, you will be provided with an application form with a number of social media platforms. You have to provide any account names that may have had on you over the previous five years. You can also add those social media details which are not listed on the form. Furthermore, all US visa applicants will now have to provide their previously used (for 5 years) phone numbers, email addresses, international travel and deportation status as well as whether any family members have been involved in terrorist activities.
The department has updated the immigrant and nonimmigrant visa forms requesting for the additional option of Social Media Identifiers, from all US visa applicants.
When asked about the new change, the department said, “National security is out top priority when adjudicating visa applicants, and every prospective traveler and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening.” The officials also said that they were working to find mechanisms to improve their screening processes to protect US citizens while supporting legitimate travel to the United States. They look forward to strengthening their process for vetting these applicants and confirming their identity.
Prior to this change, the social media details were required to only those who had traveled to areas controlled by terrorist organizations.
All US visa applicants are required to fill up the Social Media Identifiers field. However, only those applicants who are certain diplomatic and official visa types are excluded from the requirements.
News Source: The Himalayan Times