US visa applicants to submit social media handles, email, phone numbers

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The United States State Department has stated that applicants now have to submit their social media usernames when applying for a visa.

BBC reports that the new regulations also require that people also submit five years’ worth of email addresses and phone numbers.

This is part of the state department’s plan to ensure national security in the country.

“National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications, and every prospective traveler and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening,” the department said via an initial proposal in 2018.

“We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect U.S. citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United State,” it said.

This development came barely three weeks after the US Embassy in Nigeria announced the indefinite suspension of interview waivers for renewals, otherwise known as the “Dropbox” process.

A statement on its website noted that applicants in seeking a nonimmigrant visa to the United States must apply online, and will be required to appear in-person at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja or U.S. Consulate General in Lagos to submit their application for review.

It added that Nigeria’s processing procedures are regularly reviewed in order to assess our ability to quickly, efficiently, and securely process visa applications.

“The U.S. Mission is taking this step to provide more efficient customer service and promote legitimate travel, and will continue to facilitate applications of established travelers to the best of its ability”, it concluded.

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