Australians requiring a visa to enter the US will be forced to disclose their social media account details when they apply under strict new “enhanced vetting” procedures.
The US State Department is now requiring nearly all applicants for US visas to submit their social media usernames, previous email addresses and phone numbers.
Under the Visa Waiver Program, Australians entering the US for 90 days or less are not required to obtain a visa, as long as certain conditions are met. But Australians who fall outside of the program and require a visa will have to comply with the new social media scrutiny.
It is also unclear whether the social media vetting could be extended in future to cover the 38 countries that fall under the Visa Waiver Program of the United States.
Under the new requirements, visa applicants will have the option to say that they do not use social media, but people caught lying about their social media use could face “serious immigration consequences”, a State Department official advised.
The department is updating its immigrant and non-immigrant visa application forms to request the additional information from nearly all applicants for US visas.
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