06:33 GMT +322 July 2018
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    US State Department Wants Visa Applicants to Disclose Social Media Accounts

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    Earlier, the US Department of Homeland Security said that refugees from "high risk" countries will face tougher screening measures when entering the US.

    According to the US State Department, the government plans to require nearly all visa applicants to the US to submit their social media accounts along with their visa applications.

    New rules will also require data of previously used telephone numbers and e-mail addresses to be provided, according to reports.

    This data was previously only required from applicants identified for extra scrutiny, such as those who have traveled to areas controlled by terrorist organizations.

    READ MORE: Moscow Outraged By US Refusal to Process Visas for Russian Wrestling Team

    Public discussion of the new initiative will last for 60 days. If adopted, it will affect almost 15 million people who apply for a US visa every year, the vast majority of which are tourists and those who travel to the country for business or education purposes. The new rules would apply to almost all applicants for immigrant and non-immigrant visas.

    In 2016, the US was visited by 75.6 million foreign visitors, becoming country the second most popular tourist destination in the world after France.

    Donald Trump halted refugee admissions for four months last year and the screening processes were reviewed over a 90-day period that expired last week. In December 2017, a judge blocked some of the restrictions for refugees with significant family ties in the US.

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    Tags:
    visa regime, social networks, terrorism, United States
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