With the rise in security measures taken by The United States, there is a new rule added. Now all the US visa applicants will have to submit their social media details to obtain a visa. Along with it, five years’ worth of email addresses and phone numbers have to be submitted.
Until now, only people who were associated with the world controlled by the terrorist’s organizations had to submit these details. However, the new rule will also be applicable for all applicants who travel to the US for work and also the student visa applications. Though certain officials and diplomats would be exempted from the new application measure.
The applications have an option of saying that they do not use social media but lying about the details under any circumstances could have serious immigration consequences, as stated by a State Department official to The Hill, a Washington DC-based news outlet. Earlier this year, in March 2018 Trump had introduced this rule. At that time, the American Civil Liberties Union (a civil rights group) said that there is no evidence that social media monitoring is effective or fair and that the new rule would cause people to self-censor themselves online.
US President Donald Trump had ‘tracing down the immigrants’ as a major part of his campaign for presidential elections. According to the US State Department, the new proposal is a part of Trump’s extreme vetting of immigrant’s initiative and is looking towards decreasing the terrorist’s tendencies.
The US-based news agency Associated Press reported the US State Department saying that they are constantly working to find new mechanisms that would improve their screening processes to protect US citizens while supporting legitimate travel to the United States. With their constant aim, The US hopes to find both verified identities and also spot extremists who discuss their views online, in order to prevent incidents like the ‘San Bernardino mass shooting’.
According to several media reports, the rule is expected to affect closely 15 million people in the US annually. These new measures to immigration have come days after the Trump administration proposed to ban the practice of granting work permits to H-4 visa holders, mostly the spouses of H-1B visa holders.
With the added measures and scrutiny, the application process for US visa will be more time taking and difficult.
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