USA to Check 5 years of social media history for all visa applicants

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The Trump administration will require foreigners seeking visas to enter the United States to submit their social media histories, according to State Department notices submitted on Friday.

The procedure will likely make applying for US visas more difficult.

Application for non-immigrant visa notice screenshot / US State Department document

According to a notice from the US Department of State, applicants for immigrant and non-immigrant visas will be required to provide five years of social media history on various social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, as well as previous email addresses, phone numbers and even travel histories.

Meanwhile, the department has stated it is seeking public comment on the proposed measures within the next 60 days.

The department estimated that 710,000 immigrant visa applicants and over 14 million non-immigrant visa applicants would be affected. Previously, such rigorous procedures were only required from applicants singled out for extra scrutiny. An estimated 65,000 people a year fall into that category. Only applicants for certain diplomatic and official visa types may be exempted from the requirements.

The changes will need to be approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) at the White House. The move marks the latest example of the Trump administration’s enhanced vetting procedures for all travelers.

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