Guwahati, June 2, 2019:
Nearly all applicants for United States visas will have to submit their social media details under the new rules put forth by the United States’ State Department.
Support Independent Media
Support us in our efforts to bring authentic, extensive and thorough news coverage from Northeast India. Do support independent media as good journalism can only survive when a media organization is both editorially and financially independent.
Pay for quality news
The State Department regulations say people will have to submit social media names and five years’ worth of email addresses and phone numbers if they are to get a visa.
When proposed last year, authorities estimated the proposal would affect 14.7 million people annually. Only diplomatic and official visa applicants will be exempt from the stringent new measures.
However, people travelling to the US to work or to study will have to hand over their information, the BBC reported.
The US State department has reportedly said that they are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve their screening processes to protect US citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.
Previously, only applicants who needed additional vetting – such as people who had been to parts of the world controlled by terrorist groups – would need to hand over this data, but now it will apply to all countries.
They would also have to volunteer the details of their accounts on any sites not listed.
Anyone who lies about their social media use could face “serious immigration consequences”, according to an official.
The Trump administration first proposed the rules in March 2018.
At the time, the American Civil Liberties Union – a civil rights group – said there is “no evidence that such social media monitoring is effective or fair”, and said it would cause people to self-censor themselves online.
US President Donald Trump made cracking down on immigration a key plank of his election campaign in 2016. He called for “extreme vetting” of immigrants before and during his time in office.
Keep following Inside Northeast on Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and Instagram. Do download our app from the Google Playstore for the latest news updates, views, and entertainment on the go. We deliver the Northeast.