Under new stringent measures, nearly all applicants for US visas will have to submit their social media details under newly adopted rules.
The State Department regulations say people will have to submit social media names and five years’ worth of email addresses and phone numbers. Previously, only applicants who needed additional vetting – such as people who had been to parts of the world controlled by terrorist groups – would need to hand over this data.
Exempt from these measures will be certain diplomatic and official visa.
But people travelling to the US to work or to study will have to hand over their information.
The new visa application forms list a number of social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and require the applicant to provide any account names they may have had on them over the previous five years. They also give applicants the option to volunteer information about social media accounts on platforms not listed on the form.
In addition to their social media histories, visa applicants are now asked for five years of previously used telephone numbers, email addresses, international travel and deportation status, as well as whether any family members have been involved in terrorist activities.