US approves social media background checks for visa applicants

according to Reuters. employment pre-screeningThe new questions, part of an effort to tighten vetting of would-be visitors to the United States, was approved on May 23 by the Office of Management and Budget. The State Department said earlier the tighter vetting would apply to visa applicants “who have been determined to warrant additional scrutiny in connection with terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibilities.” While the new questions are voluntary, the form says failure to provide the information may delay or prevent the processing of an individual visa application. A proposal to request “social media identifiers” for travelers using the visa waiver program was put forward by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) last year. This came into force for some visa waiver travelers in December 2016. The new questionnaire applies specifically to visa applicants not using the visa waiver program. Evaluation of social media activity is increasingly common, though US employers in Maryland and Illinois were recently banned – thanks to state-level legislation – from asking job applicants for their social media logins.]]>

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