Published on May 31st, 2019 | by Sunit Nandi0
Applying for a U.S. Visa – Things To Consider About Your Personal Social Media Account
In many ways, modern-day America was built on the foundations of immigration, with an estimated 44.5 million U.S. residents having previously heralded from overseas. Despite this, the Donald Trump administration has made immigration a target for stricter and more stringent regulations, with both legal and illegal immigrants in the spotlight as a result.
Last March, the State Department even proposed a new law that would require all U.S. visa applicants to submit their social media for review, along with historic email accounts and telephone numbers.
We’ll explore this further below, whilst asking what you need to keep in mind when applying for a particular visa in the U.S..
The Recent Law Change and its Impact on Immigrants
The new legislation was formed as part of the Trump administration’s enhanced vetting processes for potential immigrants, with initial estimates suggesting that it would affect up to 15 million people every single year.
Historically, the State Department only demanded social media information from applicants who had been identified for additional scrutiny, with these individuals also required to submit their email accounts and phone number histories.
This affected a paltry 65,000 people per annum, including those travelling to and from areas that were known to be controlled by terrorist organisations.
However, the new laws will impact on virtually all applications for immigrant and non-immigrant visas, including those submitted by people who want to come to the U.S. for the purposes of business or further education.
What has been the Response?
This announcement furthered concerns that had emerged in 2017, when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) first moved to collect social media data on both permanent residents and naturalised citizens.
These developments have piqued the interested of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who suggested that the federal government and its various arms may be monitoring social media to a greater extent than is either known or ethical.
As a result, the ACLU filed several lawsuits at the beginning of 2019, and on that directly raised concerns about social media surveillance and how the use of such data infringes on individual civil liberty.
In total, seven federal agencies have been sued by the ACLU, whilst been asked to turn over the information that they have accessed as a result of their monitoring.
How Can you Tackle this Issue?
Whilst there’s no guarantee that federal agencies will be constitutionally allowed to continue gathering social media data through immigration applications, this is just one of many new laws being considered by the Trump Administration.
This means that anyone hoping to apply for a U.S. visa must be fully informed about the precise criteria that they need to fulfil, and one of the best ways to achieve this is to liaise with skilled immigration lawyers.
This will enable you to apply for the correct visa and comply with the latest U.S. immigration laws, whilst it will also ensure that you provide the necessary data required by the State Department.