US expands visa application checks; makes application process tougher

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In another step towards tightening travel to the United States, the Trump administration has introduced a new questionnaire for US visa applications. The questionnaire will be introduced to US consulates worldwide.

The new questionnaire now asks applicants to provide their social media handles for the last five years and biographical information for the last 15 years. Additionally, consular officials can request all prior passport numbers, email addresses, and phone numbers.

According to a State Department official, the additional information will only be requested by officials to confirm identity or to conduct more rigorous national security vetting.

More stringent checks could lead to applicants facing delays in the application process. Experts believe the move could discourage international students and scientists from visiting the United States.

The Trump administration, in recent months, has placed increasing restrictions to travel to the US as it seeks to increase its national security and border protections. There is currently a laptop ban in aircraft cabins for travellers to and from ten Middle East nations. The Trump administration is also contemplating extending this ban to all flights originating and destined for the US.