President Donald Trump's administration approved a proposal that allows consular officials to ask visa applicants for social media usernames from the past five years using a new questionnaire. According to a State Department spokesman, the proposal also allows officials to ask for phone numbers, email addresses, and 15 years of biographical information when more intensive vetting is required for national security purposes. While the questionnaire is voluntary, the document itself states that "individuals who [...] do not provide all the requested information may be denied a US visa."
While critics have claimed that these new checks could cause delays in the visa process and involve applicants providing irrelevant personal information, the State Department expects that only around 0.5 percent of visa applications will be given the questionnaire.
In December 2016, some visa waiver travelers were asked to provide social media information, following a request by the US Customs and Border Protection. The new questionnaire, however, applies only to visa applicants not in the visa waiver program.
Individuals requiring a United States visa who are not using the visa waiver program should plan for a potential increase in the time required to obtain a visa. All individuals are advised to follow instructions issued by authorities.
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