Social Media 5 Year History Check Creates Hurdle for U.S Visa Applicants in Jamaica

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On May 31, 2019, a new rule for visa U.S. applicants was released globally stating that social media profiles will be checked for the past 5 years to allow approval to visit the U.S. This has caused unrest among Jamaicans and the world at large who believe in free speech. It has become a cause of concern for many as all the social media profiles which have been used for the past 5 years will be checked along with their usernames and handles. This is the additional security measure taken in order to ensure that no immigrant with a criminal mindset will be allowed in the U.S.

Applicant Forms Updated with Requests for More Information

The American Embassy in Kingston affirmed through Dahlia Walker Huntington that additional information was asked in all the immigrant and non-immigrant forms about their social media accounts from platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The State Department in Washington had sent this request to the Embassy in Kingston for this information. This new mandatory rule will affect 14 million non-immigrant visa applicants who aim for U.S. visas every year. Only Diplomats and other officials are exempted from this rule.

How President Donald Trump’s New Rule Took Effect

As per the reports, an additional form will be given where the applicant has to select from a list of social media platforms they have used in the last 5 years and their handles/user IDs must be mentioned in the form. It is clearly mentioned that the passwords will not be asked for these social media platforms. Since national security was a major concern, this is the step taken and implemented for 2019 and beyond. Every potential entrant undergoes extensive scrutiny before they are permitted to enter the U.S.

Detailed Background Check for Visitors

Since national security has been a major concern, all the visitors will undergo a detailed background check before they are permitted inside the county. This becomes a cause for concern as social media posts could contain opinions with negative connotations about the U.S government. Walker Huntington specifies that this could put a lid on free speech and says that a line will be drawn in such matters. It is impossible to predict which social media posts will be used against visa applicants when this rule is made mandatory. She has pointed out the hypocrisy of a country that strives on free speech that has to come out with this rule and cautioned all Jamaicans to be careful of their social media habits.

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