State Department officials have stated the new visa rules will kick in mostly when applicants become a person of interest.
In what could amount to proactive action, the Trump administration is asking U.S. visa applicants worldwide to provide biographical information and social media handles going back at least 15 years, as part of its new questionnaire.
The new series of questions are designed to tighten norms for would-be-visitors to the United States. The norms was approved by the Office of Management and Budget on May 23 despite an onslaught of criticism from academic groups and education officials during a public comment period.
Critics have argued that the new procedures could discourage international scientists and students from visiting the U.S.
Under the new U.S. visa rules, consular officials can request five years’ worth of social media handles, all prior passport numbers, 15 years of biographical information including addresses, employment and travel history, phone numbers and email addresses.
As per an official from the State Departments, officials will request the additional information only when they determine “that such information is required to confirm identity or conduct more rigorous national security vetting”.
Earlier, the State Department had made it clear that the new visa rules will be applicable to applicants “who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities.”