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White House approves social media checks for visa applicants: report
The Trump administration has unveiled a new questionnaire for U.S. visa applicants that asks for social media handles from the last five years, Reuters reported Thursday.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved the new measures - which also request applicants' biographical information for the last 15 years - on May 23, the report said.
Consular officials can now request all prior passport numbers, five years of social media handles, email addresses and phone numbers from applicants, as well as addresses, employment and travel history stretching back 15 years.
Reuters reported that the OMB granted emergency approval for the new questions for six months rather than the usual three years.
The new questions are reportedly voluntary, but the form says that failure to provide the information may delay or prevent the processing of an individual visa application.
Critics argue that the new questions are overly burdensome, could produce long delays in applicant processing and may discourage foreigners from applying for visas.
The Trump administration late Thursday asked the Supreme Court to consider a judge's block on its travel ban that would temporarily bar citizens from six Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S.
President Trump repeatedly pledged to improve U.S. border and national security during his 2016 campaign.