Nearly all applicants for US visas will have to submit their social media details under newly adopted rules.
The State Department regulations say people will have to submit social media names and five years’ worth of email addresses and phone numbers.
When proposed last year, authorities estimated the proposal would affect 14.7 million people annually.
However, people travelling to the US to work or to study will have to hand over their information.
Currently, the updated forms collect social media identifiers from Ask FM; Douban; Facebook; Flickr; Google+; Instagram, LinkedIn; MySpace; Pinterest; QZone; Reddit; Sina Weibo; Tencent Weibo; Tumblr; Twitter; Twoo; Vine; Vkontakte; YouKu, and YouTube.
Certain diplomatic and official visa applicants will be exempt from the stringent new measures.
“We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect US citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States,” the department reportedly said.
Previously, only applicants who needed additional vetting – such as people who had been to parts of the world controlled by terrorist groups – would need to hand over this data.
But now applicants will have to give up their account names on a list of social media platforms, and also volunteer the details of their accounts on any sites not listed.
Anyone who lies about their social media use could face “serious immigration consequences”, according to an official.