Saturday, 26 May, 2018

United States to request five years of social media history for visa applicants

Experts say the solution lies in developing ethical principles regarding the analysis and use of data | AFP Experts say the solution lies in developing ethical principles regarding the analysis and use of data | AFP
Charlie Simmons | 02 April, 2018, 11:33

"Under this proposal, almost all United States visa applicants will be asked to provide additional information, including their social media identifiers, prior passport numbers, information about family members, and a longer history of past travel, employment, and contact information than is collected in current visa application forms", the spokesperson said. It expands the Trump administration's plan to evaluate threats and benefits associated with potential immigrants and visitors. If adopted, it will affect nearly 15 million people who apply for a U.S. visa every year, the vast majority of which are tourists and those who travel to the country for business or education purposes. For the first time, they included social media accounts, as well as prior passport numbers, greater detail about family members, and longer personal history, including travel, employment, and residence for the last 15 years, instead of the last five that applicants were already asked for.

Applicants for immigrant and non-immigrant visas, under the proposal, would be required to provide "identifiers" they have used on various social media platforms in the previous five years, in addition to old email addresses and phone numbers, Xinhua news agency quoted the State Department as saying on Thursday.

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The public has 60 days to comment on the requests.

It said the State Department will collect the information from visa applicants for "identity resolution and vetting purposes" based on statutory visa eligibility standards. Though, Crocetti explained that one's refusal to relinquish passwords or other non-public social media accounts can not be used as legal standing to deny approval or entrance. If anyone who wants to come to the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa will have to answer a list of questions under new rules. However, it intends not to routinely ask the question of applicants for specific visa classifications, such as most diplomatic and official visa applicants, it said.

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