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US visa applicants need to provide social media info
International

US visa applicants need to provide social media info

Agency News

Washington, June 2: Are you applying for a visa to the United States? If yes, you will need to furnish your social media information to the visa officials.

The new visa policy, first proposed in March 2018, has just taken effect after approval of updated application forms. The only exemptions are certain diplomatic and official visa applicants.

This is being done with the purpose to step up the security screening of prospective immigrants and travellers to the US.The additional information for the background scrutiny include social media usernames, email addresses and phone numbers used in the previous five years.

The applicants will also have to report international travel and deportation status during the same period, as well as whether their family members have been involved in the terrorist activities.

The policy applies to virtually all applicants of immigrant and non-immigrant visas, including on the purpose of business or education. The US State Department estimates it would affect 710,000 immigrant visa applicants and 14 million non-immigrant visa applicants each year.

The US State Department said the list of social media, which comprises 20 social media platforms of ASKfm, Douban, Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, MySpace, Pinterest, QZone, Reddit, Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo, Tumblr, Twitter, Twoo, Vine, Vkontakte, YouKu and YouTube, may grow in the future. (UNI)