State Dept. wants to ask visa applicants for social media info

State Dept. wants to ask visa applicants for social media info
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The State Department wants to require foreigners seeking visas to enter the United States to hand over information about their social media histories to the U.S. government.

Under the proposal, applicants for immigrant and nonimmigrant visas would be required to disclose “identifiers” they have used on various social media platforms in the previous five years, in addition to old telephone numbers and email addresses.

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The department disclosed the plans in documents set to be published in the Federal Register on Friday and is seeking public comment on the proposal within the next 60 days. The changes will need to be approved by the Office of Management and Budget at the White House.

The development is the latest example of the Trump administration’s enhanced vetting procedures for international travelers. 

The changes would impact all nonimmigrant visa applicants to the United States — an estimated 14 million individuals, according to the department. It would also impact an estimated 710,000 immigrant visa applicants.

According to the department, the applications for both immigrant and nonimmigrant visas would be updated to include a question that lists several social media platforms and asks applicants to provide “any identifiers” they used for the platforms in the five years preceding the application date.

Additionally, applicants would also be asked to provide telephone number, email address and international travel history for the past five years. Applicants would also be asked whether they have been deported or removed from another country and whether family members have been involved in terrorist activities.