The US visa application process has become more stringent with a new US State Department Policy. Applicants are now required to submit their social media profiles over the past five years. The requisite has become operational since last week across all online visa applications exempting those applying for certain official and diplomatic visas.
All immigrant (form DS-260) and non-immigrant (form DS-160) online visa applications have to abide by the new regulation. This move would allow the US Government to have access to photo, locations, dates of birth, personal milestones and such data of the applicants. Almost 15 million people apply annually for entry into the US; either for work or leisure purposes.
During the Obama administration, the applicants were requested to voluntarily submit their social media information. However, the current administration has now made it mandatory. In March 2017, Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, had requested “a uniform baseline for screening and vetting standards and procedures”. This mandate was given to the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence.
With this new development, the visa processing time is likely to go up and take longer than usual. There is speculation that the US visa application process may involve contacting any of the people that the applicant is connected to on social media; for some sort of verification/clarification. Indian applications will be affected, by the time taken for processing, in large numbers.