- People applying for visas to the US may soon be required to hand over details of their social media handles for scrutiny
- This follows proposed new rules from the Donald Trump administration seeking to implement an "extreme vetting" policy
- The new rule, if approved, will require applicants to literally hand over their social media activity in the last five years preceding their applications
You may want to be careful with your social media activity from now onwards if you have any intentions of travelling to America as the Trump administration is making moves to change visa applications to require all applicants to turn over five years of social media history.
The move is a major expansion of President Donald Trump's effort to implement "extreme vetting" and change how immigrants and visitors to the U.S. are processed.
The proposed new rule would require foreigners applying for a visa to include their social media usernames on various platforms including Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, as well as previous email addresses, phone numbers, international travel — all from the last five years.
The State Department, which filed a notice of the proposed change, estimates it will affect 14.71 million applicants, including those who apply as students, for business trips, or on vacation.
"Maintaining robust screening standards for visa applicants is a dynamic practice that must adapt to emerging threats," State Department spokesperson for the Bureau of Consular Affairs Virginia Elliott told ABC News.
"Collecting this additional information from visa applicants will strengthen our process for vetting these applicants and confirming their identity," the spokesperson reportedly added.
There had already been strict measures since May 2017 which allowed officers who process applicants at U.S. missions around the world to request more information from applicants if they had suspicions or doubts.
The officers can now ask for social media accounts, as well as prior passport numbers, greater detail about family members, and longer personal history, including travel, employment, and residence for the last 15 years, instead of the last five that applicants were already asked for.
But it is being stepped up now and every applicant will be required to include five years of social media usernames on their application.
Abcnews.com reports that about 15 million foreigners who apply for U.S. visas each year although certain diplomatic and official visa applicants would usually be exempt
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