M'sians Applying For US Visas Will Soon Need To Provide Their Social Media IDs

These new measures of visa vetting were introduced by US President Donald Trump in an effort to identify potential extremists.

Foreigners travelling to the United States will soon have to submit all their social media IDs from the five years prior to their visa application

Image via Beach FM

The State Department plan was published on Friday, 30 March, and could affect nearly 15 million visa applicantsThe Guardian reported.

This procedure would apply to the DS-260 "Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Form" as well as the DS-160 "Application for Nonimmigrant Visa."

Additionally, applicants would have to provide phone numbers and email addresses used in the past five years, as well as answer a number of other enquiries

According to New Straits Times, the other questions concern records of international travel, any family involvement in terrorist activities, and whether applicants have been deported or have violated immigration law.

Citizens of around 40 countries which are usually granted visa-free travel will be unaffected by the new vetting procedure

Citizens of US allies such as Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and South Korea will be exempted, reported New Straits Times.

The proposed measures will also not affect diplomatic or official travellers.

US President Donald Trump, who introduced the new measures in 2017, contended that "extreme vetting" is necessary to identify potential extremists before they set foot into the US

Image via ABC

In the past year, Trump has vowed to increase national security and border protections.

These measures are not entirely new. During the Obama administration, social media information from select visitors were collected in 2016.

Image via The Hill

This came shortly after it was revealed that the attackers in the 2015 San Bernadino shooting, from which 14 people were killed, received visas despite allegedly advocating radicalisation on their social media accounts.

However, the Trump administration’s visa vetting is more stringent as most visitors would be asked about their use of social media, reported The Guardian.

There will be a 60-day period from the date of announcement in which comments on rule changes can be submitted

The deadline for comments is 29 May.

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