US Visa Applications Now 'Request' Social Media Information

A new application form for people seeking a visa to enter the United States has been approved. And, as suspected, it requests information pertaining to social media accounts. The information is not mandatory but the form does also say that not providing the information may result in your applications being delayed or denied. In other words, it's a section drafted by The Godfather's "Department of Offers That Shouldn't Be Refused".

Providing the handles seems quite innocuous to me. But it also annoys me that entry into a country that considers us an ally is getting, at lest on paper, to be more difficult. I've had two entries into the United States this year and both have been among the smoothest ever. But I also concede that being a middle-aged white male probably helps when it comes to being "randomly" screened.

The new form asks for the name of the network and your name/handle of all the netwroks you've held accounts for over the last five years. So, if you lock down your settings it may be the case, depending on the platform, that all the Department of Homeland Security or whatever other agencies see the data will see very little unless they also have your password - and that is not being requested.

There are already reports that the "Trump Factor", as the travel industry is calling it, has resulted in a 10% fall in tourism. My suspicion is this could add another percentage point or two to that number.

The US Federal Register has a notice regarding the updated form and what data it collects.

My advice is to lock down your accounts so that public access, based on simply knowing your name or handle, is minimised - something I think you should be doing in any case. And, while you're at it, make sure you have a strong password and use 2FA if you can.


Comments

    It's so tempting to go there under the Visa Waver program (if that is still in effect) but without a phone or laptop and see what happens.

    But in all honest truth, most of my work comes from there and I had planned to actually plan to work there for a while. Mostly so instead of having meetings over Skype I can have face to face meetings and in the very least be in the same building as my co-workers.

    Then Trump got voted in and I even told my co-workers I would love to visit but I just don't feel safe while Trump is in office.

      To be honest (remembering I'm a sample size of one with just two Trump-era trips) it doesn't feel all that different to me. But I've only been to Vegas and New Orleans and my experience of the US is every state/city is quite different. It's no more or less safe to me.

        If I'm allowed to ask, were these business trips or just pleasure trips?

        The visa I was thinking of was an actual work visa so I could stay and work (earn an income) for around six months.

        But even for a casual visit I know each state is different but what Trump is doing to the US borders concerns me the most.

          They were business trips on a visa, but I used the waiver last year when on holidays - but that was before the November election.

      Esta is easy and takes two minutes to fill out and get approved. But under no circumstance do I recommend you "work" there under the visa waiver program, it's not intended for work.

      Going through customs last week was a breeze, and certainly no screening of social media that I saw for the hundreds of passengers.

      And for the safety of the US, it's more friendly than here and folks there actually like aussies. Like in all countries, keep your wits about you and you will be safe. It's certainly not anything like the media makes out. It's a very safe place

        But under no circumstance do I recommend you "work" there under the visa waiver program, it's not intended for work.

        That much, I had worked out long ago. I actually had considered that and read over the documentation.

        The rules are clear; no earning an income while on a ESTA Visa.

        Like in all countries, keep your wits about you and you will be safe.

        I don't know what it is but the last few times they kept checking me for explosives etc. Must be my accident or my walk that keeps tripping their textbook profiles.

        They never find anything on me but in both times I visited I was basically checked every time going in and going out.

          They never find anything on me but in both times I visited I was basically checked every time going in and going out.

          everytime i fly here domestically, i get explosive checked... never checked once in the US... go figure

      "Don't feel safe while Trump is in office"

      Yeah well perhaps if you're a left-wing virtual-signalling moonbat! When last did you walk around Melbourne's outer suburbs or most of Western Sydney after dark?

      America has finally broken the shackles of it's increasingly Socialist downward spiral stupor under Obama and business has never been better in such a short turn-round. DJIA is smashing all time highs, my business has had several previous limitations negated and I can now move two key players from Melbourne to my LA office.

      And if they have show some punter their social media accounts for such a life-changing move in their (and my) lives... giddy-up!

      Best you stay off MSM...

        It's astonishing to me that so many right wingers believe that the *entire* "main stream media" is not to be trusted, without a hint of irony! Doesn't it give you at least a bit of doubt every now and then?

        The fact things got "better" in such a short time should reveal to you that they actually haven't. It's similar to when a new CEO steps into a company and ups spending -- everyone will feel better because and be amazed how effective a switch in leadership can be. However, in the long run, money will run out and when that CEO leaves, there will be nothing left for the next to pick up. Isolating itself, the US will possibly see a burst in some short term metrics, but in the long run, it will mean stagnation. Of course, that might not come into effect before long after Trump is gone (and dead), so he and his voters wont have to deal with that.

        Things got better under Obama but the curve has clearly peaked now. Prepare for years of decline. Though I am sure you will blame the left even though they have no control of the WH or the senate.

    "Providing the handles seems quite innocuous to me. But it also annoys me that entry into a country that considers us an ally is getting, at lest on paper, to be more difficult."

    Is it? Does this also affect the Visa Waiver program, or just visa applications? If it doesn;t affect the visa waiver program (which we are eligible for) then the country that considers us an ally hasn't made it harder to get entry.

    I really don't understand how this is in the best interests of the countries bottom line. I for one will not be going there until my wife and I can go without being fondled, or having our personal internet history studied in detail. How does that even work, surely the time it takes to study everyone's personal online details would be counterproductive?

      They 'randomly' pick attractive people to fondle and if you have attitude you will probably be 'randomly' selected for the internet history search or whatever.

      Just lock your shit and refuse to unlock it for them.

    Oh no. The baddies now have to have a separate curated social account to declare.

    What else can we do to stop them?

    To add to the anecdotal evidence about this...
    I recently entered the USA a couple of times under the ESTA Visa Waiver Program. In the online ESTA application it asked for Social Media handles, but advised that entering this information was optional. I did not provide it. The ESTA was approved very quickly and there was no mention of this during any stage of immigration.

    Take this with a grain of salt, because as mentioned in the article, I'm a 35 year old, white male with an Australian passport and I was entering from Australia and then Canada. I would imagine that things could have been very different under other circumstances.

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