Monday, 3 June 2019

Want Visa for US? You'll have to submit social-media details

US President Donald Trump has been speaking about cracking down on illegal immigrants. Taking this same thought a step further, the US has changed rules for visa applicants.

As per these changes, those seeking US' visa will have to submit
details of their social media accounts, which they have been using for the last five years. The new changes in visa application aren't completely out of the blue. In 2017, Trump had signed an executive order to "extremely assess" applications.

A year later, in March 2018, the State Department had said it would start screening social media profiles of all visa applicants, including those seeking travel visa.

Only those on diplomatic visits will be exempted from this scrutiny.

New changes will impact 14 million travelers

Previously, only those who had traveled to countries controlled by terrorist groups were supposed to furnish their social media details. As a result, some 65,000 applicants went through an extra layer of scrutiny.

But the proposed changes will impact 14 million people. Applicants will also have to submit their telephone numbers and travel history.

The new rule will take off from this month.

So, how will these changes work? Let's answer your queries

Applicants will have to submit social media details in E-forms D-160 and D-260.

"The forms have a drop-down menu, requiring applicants to list the username or handle against the social media platforms, which they have used during the five years preceding the application date," explained Emily Neumann, partner at immigration law firm Reddy & Neumann.

Notably, they won't be asked to submit their passwords.

Currently, the list includes major social media platforms

As of now, the drop-down menu covers social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. More platforms will be added in the future.

Notably, applicants can write they don't use social media if that is the case.

A State Department official underlined that those "lying" about their social media accounts, will have to face "serious immigration consequences".


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