US Visa Application Now Asks for Facebook and all Social Media Profiles
Travelling to the U.S. has become a bit more personal now that the Trump administration is vetting visa applicants with requests for all of their social media profiles, reports Reuters.
But, what does this mean for you, or your family or friends applying for a visa to enter the U.S.?
Under the new procedure consular officials can request for an applicants Facebook, Twitter or all of their social media profiles used within the last five years. Also, they can ask for email addresses, phone numbers and 15 years of biographical information including addresses, employment information and an applicant's travel history.
Even though answering these new questions are voluntary, the form states that failure to provide the correct information may delay or prevent the processing of a visa applicant.
The State Department, the agency that processes various visa requests, said the tighter vetting would be for applicants "who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities."
The new questions grant "arbitrary power" to consular officials, who to determine who gets in and who doesn't - without being able to question the officials decisions, Babak Yousefzadeh, a San Francisco-based attorney said to Reuters News.
Following Trump's campaign promise to strengthen security and border protection, the new questionnaire took affect on May 23. According to official figures, about 10 million U.S. visas were issued in 2016 worldwide.
So what can a would-be-traveler to the U.S. do to protect the privacy of their social profiles? Nothing. Even before these new rules came into place, U.S. officials were already requesting phones and scrolling through social media. This was allowed as long as the officials had "reasonable suspicion".