Social media are an increasingly important part of the world. For many people, it is an outlet for thoughts and opinions. In some cases, it also appears to be an outlet for extremist ideas. In the United States, the decision was made to now also ask about the social media of the applicant when applying for a visa.
This measure was already announced in 2018, but will only come into effect from today, as confirmed by the US Department of Foreign Affairs – there are exceptions to take into account.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The ministry indicates that people will be asked for social media, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers. When it comes to e-mail addresses and telephone numbers, applicants must provide data that is up to five years old. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it has “adapted application forms for migrants and non-migrant visas to obtain additional information from most applicants, such as social media identification”. The information will make it easier for the ministry to identify people. At the same time, the new measures must ensure that ‘legitimate’ travellers enter and that the danger remains outside.
Previously, applicants from countries where terrorist organizations are active were already obliged to provide data such as their social media and other types of information. Approximately 15 million people applying for a visa each year will in future have to deal with the measures, according to an estimate by the authorities. An exception will be made for certain diplomatic journeys and official visa applications. However, if you apply for a visa to travel to the US for vacation or study from now on, you can already have your social media data ready. The American Civil Liberties Union is negative about Trump’s new measures.
So what are your thoughts on this new policy, will you be willing to submit your email address and social media account to get a Visa to the US?