Trump administration approves visa questionnaire that asks for social media handles
The world may be focused on the US withdrawal from the Paris accord, but the Trump administration is causing plenty of ripples in other areas too. Not content with trying to push through travel bans, the US government is also tightening up on visa applications.
An updated version of the supplemental visa application questionnaire asks would-be visitors for not only details of their travel and address history, but also for the names they use on social media. Applicants are required to provide details dating back five years, but officials are not saying in what circumstances the extra questions will become necessary.
As revealed by Reuters, the updated questionnaire was approved back on May 23. The Supplemental Questions For Visa Applicants document includes a Social Media section which says: "Please provide your unique user name for any websites or applications you have used to create or share content (photos, videos, status updates, etc.) as part of a public profile within the last five years."
A State Department official said that the extra questions would be asked when it was determined "that such information is required to confirm identity or conduct more rigorous national security vetting." It had previously said that additional vetting procedures would be applied to those "who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities."
The questions are described as being "voluntary," the paperwork gives applicants a good incentive to provide answers:
Individuals who fail to submit this form or who do not provide all the requested information may be denied a U.S. visa. Although furnishing this information is voluntary, failure to provide this information may delay or prevent the processing of an individual visa application.