This is the latest and the most controversial news to date in Travel. US immigration department has not officially started requesting for Social Media information for all applications for US Visa. This is applicable across all types of Visa except the diplomatic or official ones.
This requirement is not compulsory, but in that case, the application will take longer. US immigration department has been thinking about this move for the last couple of years as a way to track the applicant background more accurately in order to understand the type of person the applicant is and his real personality as indicated in the online behavior. This is basically an increased form of scrutiny.
So if you are now going to apply for a US visa, be ready to share your social media handles for the last five years. This is a serious and highly controversial move and can affect the travel needs of millions of people traveling annually. Not just this, other countries can consider this as a testing bed for this technology and if deemed correct and acceptable, even they can switch to this new form of applicant scrutiny.
As this is a new requirement, it is possible that the processing time will go up significantly and also the cost of Visa application. More information is still awaited about it. News and media sites will be updated as soon as more information is released about this new procedure.
As per the process, the visa forms will have a section that will ask you for sharing social media handles. Social media handles means, the usernames, the ID/ alias used, email ID used to register the handle, etc. It has already been implemented and the immigrant and nonimmigrant forms are already updated.
But this is for the young generation and the middle-aged ones who use social media. However, there is a large population who does not use social media (old and young). These people can still fill the form without sharing any social media details. But we need to remember that this is the US Department of Immigration. Any misleading information during the visa process will directly affect the Visa outcome. So it’s better to share information upfront if you already have social media.
It remains to be seen if any other country is also willing to walk the same path as the US in this respect. Till then Cheers and Happy Travels.