Nearly all visa applicants to the US are now required to submit any information about social media accounts they have used in the past five years under a State Department policy, the Associated Press reported.
Under the newly adopted regulations that started on Friday, the US government will through such account information gain access to photos, locations, dates of birth, dates of milestones and other personal data commonly shared on social media.
The wider application of the Trump administration policy to request social media accounts – which was proposed in March 2018 – is estimated to affect 14.7 million people annually.
Only certain diplomatic and official visa applicants will be exempt from the stringent new measures, but people travelling to the US to work or to study will have to hand over their information, according to BBC.
“We already request certain contact information, travel history, family member information, and previous addresses from all visa applicants,” the State Department said in a statement. “We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect U.S. citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the US.”
Anyone who lies about their social media use could face serious immigration consequences, according to media reports.