Your social media posts will now determine application for US Visa
The Trump administration have passed a new law requiring those seeking a visa to enter the United States to provide their social media handles before their applications are approved.
The new questionnaire will require one to provide social media handles for the last five years and 15 years’ worth of biographical data.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved the new questionnaire on May 23 even as it faced criticism from a range of education officials and academic groups during a public comment period.
Consular officials can also now ask applicants for all prior passport numbers, email addresses, phone numbers, and 15 years of biographical information under the new protocol, making the application process much more burdensome for those looking to enter the United States.
Among the new fields is a section dedicated solely to social media, in which applicants are asked to provide their “unique user name” for any online service used to “create or share content” over the past five years.
According to Reuters, the State Department officials said they will request the additional information of applicants when it’s decided that extra steps are needed to “confirm identity or conduct more rigorous national security vetting,” a condition that essentially gives official carte blanche to conduct the searches on whomever they please, for any reason.
The OMB also granted emergency approval for the new questions for six months, rather than the usual three years.
Critics say that the new questionnaire will be burdensome and will lead to unnecessary delays in visa processing.
According to the State Department, officials will request the additional information when they determine “that such information is required to confirm identity or conduct more rigorous national security vetting.”
The Department said that these additional vetting procedures will only apply to those who have been identified as in need of further vetting in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities.
President Donald Trump has vowed to increase national security and border protections, proposing to give more money to the military and make Mexico pay to build a wall along the southern US border.