US begins ‘extreme’ visa vetting; applicants asked to submit social media info
Washington, June 2, 2019: As part of the enhanced screening process of visa applicants, the US Administration has made it mandatory for nearly all applicants to submit their social media details under new rules by the State Department.
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.
In a move that’s just taken effect after approval of the revised application forms, the department says it has updated it’s an immigrant and nonimmigrant visa forms to request the additional information, including “social media identifiers,” from almost all U.S. applicants.
The State Department regulations say people will have to submit social media names and five years’ worth of email addresses and phone numbers.
“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.
Previously, only the applicants, who needed additional vetting – such as people who had been to parts of the world controlled by terrorist groups – would need to hand over this data.
Anyone who lies about their social media use could face “serious immigration consequences”, according to an official.
Only applicants for certain diplomatic and official visa types are exempted from the requirements.
Copy-edited By Adam Rizvi