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US wants visa applicants to submit phone, email, social media details

The State Department estimates that the new visa forms would affect 710,000 immigrant and 14 million non-immigrant visa applicants.

Published: 30th March 2018 11:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th March 2018 11:33 AM   |  A+A-

Smartphone, Iphone, Technology

Image for representation purpose only. (File photo | AP)

By PTI

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration wants all US visa applicants to submit details of their previous phone numbers, email addresses and social media histories as part of its "vetting" practice and to prevent entry of individuals who might pose a threat to the country.

In a document posted on the Federal Register yesterday, anyone who wants to come to the US on a non-immigrant visa will have to answer a list of questions under new rules. The State Department estimates that the new visa forms would affect 710,000 immigrant and 14 million non-immigrant visa applicants.

It said that in addition to asking the visa applicants to provide their identifications or handles of their social media platform, they would also be asked to give details of their phone and mobile numbers used in the last five years.

Other questions seek five years of previously used telephone numbers, email addresses and international travel whether the visa applicant has been deported or removed from any country and whether specified family members have been involved in terrorist activities, said the document which would be formally published today. After its publication, the public would have 60 days to comment on the proposed new visa form.

"One question lists multiple social media platforms and requires the applicant to provide any identifiers used by applicants for those platforms during the five years preceding the date of application," the document said.

It said the State Department will collect the information from visa applicants for "identity resolution and vetting purposes" based on statutory visa eligibility standards. 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.

The revised visa application forms will also include additional information regarding the visa medical examination that some applicants may be required to undergo.



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