Wednesday 10 May 2017

Social Media Could Prevent Traveller From Getting US Visa

social media

Tweets from the past could come back to haunt social media users trying to get a visa to visit the US.

Last week the government agency filed a notice proposing another level of security for vetting immigrants applying for US visas.

American officials are proposing a change in immigration security that would see border force checking five years' worth of a traveller's social media history to determine whether the traveller is allowed a visa.

The Department of Homeland Security already requests social media handles voluntarily from visitors.

Travellers need not worry, however. Despite the extra layer of checks, David Donahue, acting assistant secretary of the Bureau of Consular Affairs reassured people that travellers cannot be denied entry to the US based on"race, religion, ethnicity, political views, gender or sexual orientation."

This proposal began back in February when United States Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly reported he was working on a piece of legislation that would see US officials being allowed the passwords to social media accounts for people seeking a US visa.

“If they don’t want to give us that information, then they don’t come,” Kelly said, while testifying in front of the House Homeland Security Committee earlier this year.

This has been updated: the department is now proposing that travellers submit social media handles from accounts that have been active within the past five years for scrutiny.

Since then it has also been confirmed that security would not ask for passwords or otherwise “attempt to subvert any privacy controls the applicants may have implemented.”

Checks would be made alongside the submission of all email addresses, phone numbers and 15 years of travel history. Travellers could refuse to give their details over but would need to give a reason to prevent being denied travel.

Homeland Security has proposed that it would only be for those “who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities." Yet the estimated amount of people it will affect totals a whopping 65,000 US visa applicants.

No law has been passed so these rules do not yet stand.

As border controls and visa applications become stricter, the changes within the US government and Brexit have created a huge amount of confusion and questions for holiday-makers.

The EU is currently attempting to create a new form of visa for non-EU citizens in light of Brexit, called the ETIAS which is similar to an ESTA.

The new laws being debated mean that travel in the future may become harder in light of recent attacks and calls for tighter immigration controls.

The freedom of travel that the modern era has come to enjoy may soon become a thing of the past.



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