Authorities have estimated that the new visa policy would affect 14.7 million people every year.

The United States State Department has announced that anyone applying for a visa into the country will now have to submit their social media handles.

According to BBC, applicants will also have to submit their phone numbers and five years’ worth of email addresses.

The policy is said to be part of the state department’s effort to ensure national security and according to authorities, the policy would affect 14.7 million people annually.

Stating the reason for the proposal in 2018, the department said, “National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications, and every prospective traveler and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening.”

“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.”

However, BBC reports that certain diplomatic and official visa applicants will be exempted from the stringent new measures.

Recall that the US President Donald Trump in 2017 called for “extreme vetting” of visa application process to keep America and its citizens safe.

In April, Pulse reported that Trump’s administration is considering new measures to crack down on countries whose citizens have a high rate of overstaying their visas in the United States.

In its 2017 Entry/Exit Overstay Report, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security described overstays as those who remain in the U.S. beyond their period of admission and for whom there is no identifiable evidence of a departure, an extension of period of admission, or transition to another immigration status.

According to DHS’ 2017 report, a high proportion of countries expected to be affected by the new measure include Nigeria, Chad, Eritrea, Liberia, Somalia, and Djibouti.

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