15:22US State Department Wants Visa Applicants to Disclose Social Media Accounts

Need a U.S. visa? Gov’t to require social media profiles

The Department of State already collects limited contact information, travel history, family member information, and previous addresses from all visa applicants, the spokesperson said.

The State Dept.is proposing that foreign visitors and people planning to immigrate to the USA, provide links to various social media accounts in order to obtain visas.

Only applicants for certain diplomatic and official visa types may be exempted from the requirements, the documents said.

Immigrants from nations where female genital mutilation (FGM) is practiced will be also be directed to a State Department-run website to educate potential immigrants and visitors that the practice is illegal in the USA, ensuring that human rights violations do not occur.

The decision will not take effect immediately - the publication of the planned change to visa applications on Friday will start a 60-day clock for the public to comment on the move.

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According to ABC news online, the proposed 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, worldwide travel - all from the last five years.

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

The online form will provide a list of social media platforms - presumably the major ones - and "requires the applicant to provide any identifiers used by applicants for those platforms during the five years preceding the date of application".

The United States needs this all for to prevent entry of individuals who might pose a threat to the country.

The State Department estimates that the new visa forms would affect 710,000 immigrant visa applicants and 14 million non-immigrant visa applicants.

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