The change comes as part of Donald Trump’s initiative to strengthen the screening of potential migrants.
Rabat – The US State Department will now require applicants for US visas to submit their social media usernames, previous email addresses, and phone numbers.
Previously, the US State Department only requested social media, email and phone number histories from applicants who were flagged as needing extra scrutiny, such as people who’d traveled to areas controlled by terrorist organizations.
An estimated 65,000 applicants per year fell into that category, compared to the estimated 15 million foreigners who apply for visas to enter the US each year who will now have to provide the extra information.
“National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications, and every prospective traveler and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening,” the US State Department told the Associated Press.
“We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect U.S. citizens while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.”
The new visa application forms list a number of social media platforms and require the applicant to provide any account names, as well as their previously used telephone numbers, email addresses, they may have had over the previous five years.
Visa applicants will now also have to provide their international travel and deportation status, as well as whether any family members have been involved in terrorist activities.