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US Visa applicants to submit social media details, others

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What is it that you post on your social media platforms? Well, under the new rules by the State Department, nearly all applicants for US visas will have to submit their social media details and five years’ worth of email addresses and phone numbers.

The change, first announced last year and taking effect this month, follows on a 2017 order by President Donald Trump requiring heightened vetting for visa applicants, according to a State Department official.

When proposed last year, authorities estimated the proposal would affect 14.7 million people annually.

Certain 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.

“We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect US citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States,” the department reportedly said.

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 applicants will have to give up their account names on a list of social media platforms, and also volunteer the details of their accounts on any sites not listed.

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