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Visa applications for the United States of America have been a tedious task in the recent years, due to the increasing formalities introduced by the nation under the Trump administration. Now, the process has gotten just a little more cumbersome with the new requirement of “social media identifiers”. In an attempt to increase screening of immigrants, the United States of America will now forth be asking visa applicants to provide details of their social media accounts. Immigration as well as non-immigration applicants are expected to provide the state with information pertaining to their phone numbers, usernames and social media handles, dating all the way back to five years ago. These include social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and even the Chinese messaging service WeChat.
The rule to intensify the screening process and expand the social media rule was announced by the Trump administration a year back in March 2018 and is now ready to be enforced. Prior to the approval of the revised application form, social media details were only inquired from travellers when their application required further scrutiny, including people who had visited a terror-occupied or terrorist-run nation.
The new law is anticipated to affect nearly 15 million people around the globe. The only people exempted of this are official visa holders and diplomats. While it seems like a safeguard to assume that one can just lie about their presence on social media, a state department official came forth to say anyone caught in such circumstances will face “serious immigration consequences”.
Considering the wave of right-winged belief across various countries, it is feared that this new law might lead to self-censorship of content to match expected standards and an increasing processing time to obtain these visas.
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