United States visa applicants from Ghana will now be required to list their social media names, previous email addresses and phone numbers.
The move by the U.S government, which also affect applicants from other countries, is a stepped up of screening of foreign visitors and immigrants who wants to enter America from across the globe.
The new rules apply to virtually all applicants for immigrant and nonimmigrant visas.
The change, which was first proposed in March 2018 by US President Donald Trump, will affect an estimated 14 million travelers and 710,000 immigrants.
“National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications, and every prospective traveler and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening,” the U.S state department said.
“We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect U.S. citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.”
The American Civil Liberties Union had opposed the proposal, arguing the questions would create “an environment ripe for profiling and discrimination,” according to Bloomberg.
However, the department maintains that collecting additional information from more applicants “will strengthen our process for vetting these applicants and confirming their identity.”
The new visa application forms list a number of social media platforms and require the applicant to provide any account names they may have had on them over the previous five years, according to the mailonline.
They also give applicants the option to volunteer information about social media accounts on platforms not listed on the form.
In addition to their social media histories, visa applicants are now asked for five years of previously used telephone numbers, email addresses, international travel and deportation status, as well as whether any family members have been involved in terrorist activities, the mailonline further reports.