US begins social media screening for visa applicants

Nearly all applicants of US visas will have to provide information on their use of social media under the new rules adopted to enhance vetting of foreign nationals and to screen out terrorists and other dangerous individuals seeking entry into the US.

The State Department has now adopted a new policy under which most visa applicants, including temporary visitors, will be required to list their social media identifiers in a drop down menu along with other personal information.

Applicants will have the option to say that they do not use social media if that is the case. If a visa applicant lies about social media use, they could face “serious immigration consequences” as a result, a US Department of State official said. For now, the dropdown menu only includes major social media websites, but the applicants soon will be able to list all sites that they use.

The social media identifiers will be incorporated into a background check review against watchlists generated by the US government. Applicants will also be required in the future to turn more extensive information on their travel history.

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