The new requirement for all U.S visa seekers will be that they have to submit their social media usernames, previous e-mail addresses and contact numbers as a part of the visa application process. Yesterday, the U.S. State Department has announced the same stating that now, social media details are mandatory. This new rule is a part of a broad expansion of screening under Trump administration and it could affect nearly fifteen million might go travellers to the U.S. Earlier, in 2018, the department only updated the application forms to request the additional information.
The department stated that the National security is now their top priority when adjudicating visa applications, and every prospective traveller and immigrant to the United States undergo extensive security screening. It also said that they are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve their screening processes to protect U.S. citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.
Now the rule of social media personal details have been made mandatory for everyone but earlier, such a requirement was required for applicants who had been identified for extra scrutiny or people who had travelled to areas with a high degree of terrorist activity. Today, apart from social media platforms, they will also need any account names that have been five-year-old. Even phone numbers and email addresses have to be used over the past five years.
The social media services have been used in recent years can be observed as a tool to fuel “terrorist sentiment and activity.” As per the officials, these new requirements can be a valuable tool “to screen out terrorists, public safety threats, and other dangerous individuals from gaining immigration benefits and setting foot on U.S. soil.”