U.S. visa applicants now required to disclose social media info
The U.S. State Department has unveiled a new policy that requires all visa applicants to provide their social media identifiers over the last five years.
WASHINGTON — As if the application form to get a U.S. visa wasn't lengthy enough, the State Department now wants all applicants to include all their social media deets.
According to the New York Times, the new policy that started Friday requires visa applicants to the United States to submit information on any social media accounts they've used in the past five years.
This information would allow authorities access to locations, photos, birthdates, milestones, and other personal data typically shared on social media.
CBS reports that immigrant and nonimmigrant visa forms have already been updated to reflect the change, which is expected to affect over 15 million foreigners who apply to enter the U.S. each year.
The new forms list several social media platforms and ask the applicant to provide account names they've had over a five-year-period. There's also an option to volunteer details on platforms not on the list.
Apart from social media identifiers, applicants are also now required to provide email and phone number histories, international travel and deportation status, and whether any family members have been involved in terrorist activities.
These extra details were once only required for an estimated 65,000 people a year that were identified for extra scrutiny, like those who travel to regions controlled by terrorist organizations.
The State Department claims the new rules are simply a way to confirm identities and ensure a tighter vetting process.
There are exemptions, but only for diplomatic or official visa applications.
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