U.S. to Require Social Media Usernames of All Visa Applicants

Posted March 31, 2018

In addition to social media and phone number histories, visa applicants will also be required to disclose their previous worldwide travel, deportation status, as well as whether any applicant's family members have been involved in terrorist activities.

"There is a real risk that social media vetting will unfairly target immigrants and travellers from Muslim-majority countries for discriminatory visa denials, without doing anything to protect national security".

The State Department wants to require all US visa applicants to submit their social media histories, previous email addresses and phone numbers.

Apart from email addresses, social media handles and phone numbers, travellers would also have to provide any immigration problems they have had - whether with USA or elsewhere - and any family history of involvement in terrorist activities.

The Department of State estimates that its revised visa process will affect 710,000 immigrant visa applicants attempting to enter the U.S.; its more limited review of travelers flagged for additional screening only affected an estimated 65,000 people.

If you're hoping to apply for some kind of visa to immigrate to the United States, it seems that you might need to hand over some of your social media information.

If it translates into law, the visa rule would see almost 14.7 million people getting affected, the Reuters reported. It marks the latest example of the Trump administration's enhanced vetting procedures for global travelers.

The report also stressed that in May of previous year, when new rules were implemented, the State Department had only collected social media account information from applicants if "that such information is required to confirm identity or conduct more rigorous national security vetting".

After its publication, the public would have 60 days to comment on the proposed new visa form.

The idea is subject to approval by the Office of Management and Budget.

What's the current stance on requesting social media?

The Department also is revising the collection to add several additional questions for nonimmigrant visa applicants.

The Department of Homeland Security has been moving to include and expand review of social media information as well.