The State Department reportedly wants to include social media information as part of the U.S. visa application requirements.
Today, the State Department may file a proposed rule change requiring both immigrant and non-immigrant U.S. visa applicants to submit their social media information.
According to reports, nearly all individuals applying for a U.S. visa must disclose their social media handles on specific platforms within the last five years to the U.S. government.
Apart from the social network handles, applicants must also provide their email addresses and contact numbers during that same period.
In documents set to be published in today’s Federal Register, the department said that it wants the public to comment on their new proposed requirements. Apparently, the proposed rule would affect almost 15 million foreigners who annually apply for a U.S. visa.
The figure includes over 700,000 immigrant visa applicants and 14 million non-immigrant visa applicants.
While the documents were already posted on the Federal Register’s website since yesterday, the 60-day public commenting period will only begin today as soon as the Friday’s edition of the documents have been published.
It should be noted that previous rulings only require those who came from or traveled to terrorist-controlled areas to surrender their social media, phone numbers, and email histories.
Should the Office of Management and Budget approve the proposed rule, applicants would have no other choice but to list the social media handles they used on the platforms that will be mentioned by the U.S. Department.
“The Department is revising the collection to add several additional questions for immigrant visa applicants. One question lists multiple social media platforms and requires the applicant to provide any identifiers used by applicants for those platforms during the five years preceding the date of application,” the State Department said.
“The platforms listed may be updated by the Department by adding or removing platforms. Additional platforms will be added only if collection is consistent with the uses described in the Supporting Statement and after Office of Management and Budget approval.
In the document, the State Department also said that an applicant would have the option to “provide information about any social media identifiers associated with any platforms other than those that are listed that the applicant has used in the last five years.”
While the Trump administration has been vocal about its desire to investigate people’s background through their social media information, this is the first time that it will require almost all applicants to provide said data.
The proposed rule would only exclude people applying for particular diplomatic and official visa types.
How do you feel about disclosing your social media information when applying for a U.S. visa?