Despite objections from privacy experts and academic and scientific communities in the U.S., the Trump administration has approved new rules that will allow State Department officers to request visa applicants’ last five years of social media handles, email addresses, and phone numbers, and the last fifteen years of residential, employment, and travel history. See full Reuters story here, click.
These new rules will give even more discretion to visa officers than they already have. Get ready for longer processing times at U.S. Consulates and an increase in visa denials, many of which will be based on innocent mistakes by applicants. Allegedly, the requests for additional information will be “voluntary”, though applicants who refuse to voluntarily provide the requested information may find their visa applications delayed or even denied. Stay tuned….
Timothy R. Bakken