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U.S. plans ‘enhanced vetting’, as visa applicants to hand over social media history, email addresses and phone numbers


The State Department wants to require all U.S. visa applicants to submit their social media histories, previous email addresses and phone numbers.

It’s a vast expansion of the Trump administration’s enhanced vetting of potential immigrants and visitors.

In documents to be published in the Federal Register, the department says it is seeking public comment on the new requirements.

It says those requirements will affect nearly 15 million foreigners who apply for visas to enter the United States.

Previously, social media, email and phone number histories were only sought from visa applicants identified for extra scrutiny. That’s about 65,000 people annually.

The new rules would apply to all applicants for immigrant and non-immigrant visas.

The department estimates it would affect 710,000 immigrant visa applicants and 14 million non-immigrant visa applicants.

The move does not affect tourists and short-term visitors from some of the U.S.’s closest allies.

Canadian tourists can enter without visas, while those from ‘visa-waiver’ countries, which are the UK, Australia, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, other member states of the European and Union and Chile, can enter for 90 days on leisure or business without applying for visas.

But some countries with major trading relations and affluent middle classes who hae become increasingly important to U.S. tourism are affected, including Mexico, China, India and Brazil.

The move stems from President Donald Trump’s demands for ‘enhanced vetting’ of immigrants and those entering the United States.

The Washington Times reported that other measures would include demanding that visa applicants disclose more details of any potential family ties to terrorism.

Those coming from countries where female genital mutilation happens, which includes Somalia, Ethiopia, Egypt, Yemen, Sudan, Kenya and Nigeria, would be given information warning them it is illegal in the United States.

And people would also be told to disclose if they had had immigration problems with other countries, something which is not currently required.