The Trump administration announced that is has approved the use of a “new questionnaire for U.S. visa applicants” that will ask for social media accounts and handles that were used over the “last five years.” In a major victory for the Administration, visa applicants will also be asked for their travel history, including the source of funding related to their travel. The new visa protocol, which was approved by the Office of Management of the Budget, had been requested by the Department of State for “expedited consideration and ‘emergency review.’”
 
Consular officers of the Department of State stationed at consulates all over the world issues visas to travelers applying to enter the United States. State proposed the new measures for visa applicants worldwide so that it can “more rigorously” evaluate them for possible connections to terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities.
 
“Collecting additional information from visa applicants whose circumstances suggest a need for further scrutiny will strengthen our process for vetting these applicants and confirming their identity,” said a State Department official to Fox News. Only a fraction of one percent of the 13 million annual applicants will be affected.
 
The State Department, in addition to queries about social media accounts, will continue to request phone numbers and email addresses used during the last five years, address and employment history during the last 15 years, and names and dates of birth for all children, current and former spouses or partners, and siblings, along with all former and current passport numbers and country of issuance.
 
The Department of Homeland Security stated that the new questionnaire would help to provide the “best information possible.”
 

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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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