New US visa application asks for social media handles

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A new US Visa application has been approved which will require applicants to provide their social media handles for the last five years as well as biographical information for the last fifteen years.

According to a Reuters report, the new questions are part of efforts by the Trump administration to tighten the application process for visitors entering the US.

Under the new procedures, consular officials can request all prior passport numbers, five years’ worth of social media handles, email addresses and phone numbers and 15 years of biographical information including addresses, employment and travel history.

The new questions were approved on May 23 by the Office of Management and Budget.

The move however, has received some criticism that the new questions will make the process longer and more tedious and will discourage international students and highly skilled migrants from visiting the US.

A State Department official said officials will request the information once they determing that it is required ‘to confirm identity or conduct more rigorous security vetting’.

The move was meant to apply to applicants “who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities.”

The Office of Management and Budget granted emergency approval for the new questions for six months, rather than the usual three years.

While the new questions are voluntary, the form says failure to provide the information may delay or prevent the processing of an individual visa application.

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