If you are planning to apply for the US visa, you will have to share your internet history. As proposed by the Trump administration, the country now requires most of the US visa applicants to submit their social media details for the past five years, as part of its strategy to improve screening of potential immigrants and visitors.
The revised US visa forms, which was first proposed in March 2018, require most visa applicants, including tourists, to furnish their social media usernames, previous email addresses and phone numbers as part of the application process. However, some diplomats and officials are likely to be exempted from the requirements.
"National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications, and every prospective traveller and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening," the US-based news agency Associated Press quoted the US State Department as saying this. "We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect U.S. citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States."
According to media reports, the revised norms could affect up to 15 million travellers who apply for visas to enter the United States each year. Previously, this enhanced screening information had only been required for applicants who visited terrorist-controlled areas. Nearly 65,000 people per-year had fallen into that category, as per the AP.
These new hurdles to immigration come days after the Trump administration moved proposal to ban the practice of granting work permits to H-4 visa holders, mostly spouses of H-1B visa holders. On May 22, the US government issued a notice to kick-off public consultations for the proposed rule.
According to the Economic Times report, US consulate offices in India issued 8.72 lakh visas during the fiscal ended September 30, 2018.
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar