If you want to immigrate to the US or visit the country for business or pleasure and you aren’t from one of these countries, soon you might have to share your social media handles created in the last five years as part of official formalities. A social media handle is the URL of your personal account – e.g. facebook.com/XYZ.
While visitors travelling on diplomatic and official visas will mostly be exempted, it might soon be compulsory for citizens of countries in this region also – Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and UAE – to disclose their handles.
Once the new rule becomes effective, it will impact nearly 15 million people, globally, including countries such as Brazil, China, India and Mexico.
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It is still not clear which social media sites will be part of the ‘visa list’. However, it is expected that all major sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter will be included. Even sites such as QQ and Weibo in China and VK in Russia might be part of the list.
It has not been announced by when the new rule will be effective. Currently, the proposed rule has been published on a US government website and is open to the opinion of US citizen till May 29.
In case you are a US citizen and you want to share your opinion about the new proposal, you can do so in two ways.
- Visit this website, search for docket number: DOS-2018-0002 and then click Comment Now
- Email your comments to PRA_BurdenComments@state.gov
In case you choose to send an email, you need to include the following:
- Title of Information Collection: Application for Nonimmigrant Visa
- OMB Control Number: 1405-0182
- Form Number: DS-160 and DS-156