NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The United States is upping the ante this month on the screening of persons travelling to the US for work or to study, by requiring visa applicants to provide their social media account names as well as volunteer the details of their accounts on any sites not listed on the visa application.
The State Department regulations said persons will have to submit social media names and five years’ worth of email addresses and phone numbers.
The new security protocol was initially announced in 2018, following a 2017 order by U.S. President Donald Trump, outlining the need for an increased vetting process for U.S. visa applicants, according to a U.S. Department of State official.
According to notes in the U.S. Federal Registrar, approximately 14 million travelers and over 700,000 immigrants to the U.S. will be impacted each year by the new process.
Previously, the American Civil Liberties Union ruled against the proposal, expressing that the new requirement would produce an environment “ripe for profiling and discrimination.”
However, U.S. President Trump made it very clear during his election campaign in 2016 that cracking down on immigration was a key priority for his administration once elected to office.