US visa applicants to be asked for social media identities from last five years – US State Department
The US State Department has filed a proposal which would require most immigrant and non-immigrant visa applicants to list all social media identities, as well as previously used telephone numbers, email addresses and their international travel history over the same period.
The information would be used to vet and identify them, which would affect about 14.7 million people annually.
The proposal, if approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), would require most immigrant and non-immigrant visa applicants to list all social media identities they have used in the past five years.
Previously, under rules instituted last May, consular officials were instructed to collect social media identifiers only when they determined “that such information is required to confirm identity or conduct more rigorous national security vetting,” a State Department official said at the time.
The State Department said then that the tighter vetting would apply only to those “who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities.”
The new proposal was published in the Federal Register on Friday. The public has 60 days to comment on the revised procedures before the OMB approves or rejects them.
If approved, the measures also will require applicants to submit five years of previously used telephone numbers, email addresses, and their international travel history. They will be asked if they have been deported or removed from any country and whether family members have been involved in terrorist activities, the department said.
The department said it intends not to routinely ask most diplomatic and official visa applicants for the additional information.
Source: Reuters, Department of State, US News, BBC, ABC News, AP Shiva Shankar Pandian The Kootneeti - White House Watch
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