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US to ask visa applicants for social media handles

US to ask visa applicants for social media handles

The United States of America has begun asking some of those applying for visas to provide their identities on social media, among other more vigorous screening methods.

This was made known by a State Department official, who spoke to the AFP on condition of anonymity, that the new security procedures had gone into effect on May 25 for travellers deemed to present a risk.

In a March 6 memorandum, the President of the United States, Donald Trump vowed to tighten controls on who can enter the country, the better to ferret out extremists who might pose a threat.

According to the US official, consular officers can now demand extra information from applicants they deem to require “more rigorous national security vetting.”

“Such visa applicants will be asked to provide additional information, including their social media handles, prior passport numbers, additional information about family members, and a longer history of past travel, employment, and contact information,” she said.

Nevertheless, she added, these changes will “affect only a fraction of one percent of the more than 13 million annual visa applicants worldwide.”

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Updated: June 3, 2017 — 6:55 am

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