The Stupidest Idea We’ve Ever Heard of … In what INBOUND believes is, for the tour and travel industry, the stupidest idea we’ve ever heard of, the U.S. State Department has proposed a regulation that would seek more information from international travelers to the USA and, in doing so, has prompted enormous criticism at home and abroad. Specifically, the proposal would ask visa applicants to provide details on the social media accounts they have used in the past five years, as well as telephone numbers, email addresses, and international travel during the same period.
The proposed regulation would not affect countries that are a part of the Visa Waiver Program—there are 38 nations in the program—but would affect such key overseas source markets such as China, India and Brazil, as well as all of South America except for Chile. The proposal, which comes from the state department, would require most visa applicants to give details of their Facebook and Twitteracco
Those affected by the proposed regulation—some 14.7 million people a year—would have to disclose all social media identities used in the past five years. The information would be used to identify and vet those seeking both immigrant and non-immigrant visas.
Less than Two Months to be Heard: If approved by the Office of Management and Budget, the new rule will expand the vetting process applied to those flagged for extra immigration scrutiny –a policy implemented last year—to every immigrant visa applicant and to non-immigrant visa applicants including business professionals and tourists. The State Department published its notice of request for public comment in the Federal Register on March 30. The comment period on the proposal concludes on May 29, 2018. The notice posted by the State Department indicated that it wants to expand the information it collects by adding questions to its Electronic Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration (DS-260).