All U.S. Visa applicants could have to disclose social media information

14 million Visa applicants could be affected.

Mar 30, 2018, 1:48 am

IRL

Kris Seavers 

Kris Seavers

All U.S. Visa applicants could soon be required to disclose all of their social media information.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

U.S. Visa applicants could soon be required to disclose social media handles from the past five years, as well as email addresses and phone numbers, in a move to expand the Trump administration’s “extreme vetting” of immigrants and visitors.

The State Department will propose these new requirements on Friday, Bloomberg reports. Documents detail that under the policy, immigrant and non-immigrant Visa forms will be asked for their usernames for a specific list of social media accounts. Applicants can also opt to disclose information for social media accounts not on the list.

The change could affect more than 14 million Visa applicants, according to Bloomberg. Forms will also ask for applicants’ five-year history of telephone numbers and addresses, travel and deportation statuses, and if members of their family have been involved in terrorist activity.

Last year, the Department of Homeland Security implemented a rule allowing social media information to be included in immigrants’ official records. As Engadget notes, officials have included social media handles and searches in Visa applications since before the Trump administration.

Congress has revitalized interest in collecting information on U.S. visitors following the 2015 San Bernadino shooting, and President Donald Trump has been promising to implement stronger border security to defeat terrorism since his campaign.

The public will have 60 days to comment on the State Department’s proposed rule change.

H/T the Verge

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*First Published: Mar 30, 2018, 1:48 am