New regulations have been implemented by the United States government which would require applicants to submit their social handles in the application of a visa. The new questions were approved in late May by the Office of Management and Budget in hopes that the process will become even tighter.
Those that argued against the new questions believed that they would be overly burdensome and thus would discourage international students and scientists from going to the US.
With these new questions, “prior passport numbers, five years’ worth of social media handles, email addresses and phone numbers and 15 years of biographical information including addresses, employment and travel history” can be requested by consular officials.
While the new questions are voluntary, the form says failure to provide the information may delay or prevent the processing of an individual visa application. Migration lawyers and advocates say the request for 15 years of detailed biographical information, as well as the expectation that applicants remember all their social media handles, is likely to catch applicants who make innocent mistakes or do not remember all the information requested.
According to the United States department the tighter vetting will apply to visa applicants who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in relation to terrorism.