Citizens from approximately 40 countries, to whom the United States would normally grant visa-free travel, will not be affected by the requirement. These countries also include major allies such as Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and South Korea.
In addition, visitors traveling with diplomatic and official visas are largely exempted.
When news came out on Friday about the proposal "This attempt to gather a huge amount of information about the activities of millions of visa applicants in the social media is another ineffective and extremely problematic Trump management plan," said Hina Shamsi , Director of the American Civil Liberties Union National Security Project. "It will violate the rights of immigrants and US citizens by keeping freedom of speech and association cool, especially because people now have to ask themselves if what they say online is misunderstood or misunderstood by a government official."
Anil Kalhan, a law professor at Drexel University dealing with immigration and international human rights, wrote on on Twitter : "This is unnecessarily intrusive and ridiculous."
Representatives of Facebook and Twitter did not respond immediately Request for comment.
Along with the social media information, visa applicants are asked for passport numbers, phone numbers, and email addresses. for records of past international trips; whether they have been deported or removed in the past or have violated immigration law; and whether relatives were involved in terrorist activities.
"Maintaining robust screening standards for visa applicants is a dynamic practice that must adapt to new threats," the State Department said in a statement. "We already ask for limited contact information, itinerary, family member information and past addresses from all visa applicants, and gathering this additional information from visa applicants will enhance our process of reviewing these applicants and confirming their identity."
About 14 million people fill each year the online application for a non-immigration visa known as DS-160. According to the ministry, filling in takes about 90 minutes.
The terrorist attack in San Bernardino in 2015, in which 14 people were killed, focused on the social media use of immigrants, after officials had admitted that this was the case of missed signs of online radicalization in an online Messaging platform used by the husband and wife who had carried out the attack.
Last year, John F. Kelly, then secretary of internal security and now the chief of staff of Trump, told members of Congress that his department was considering asking visitors for passwords and access to online accounts.  "We want to use passwords in their social media," said Mr. Kelly to members of the Homeland Security Committee. "If you do not want to cooperate, do not come in."
So far, the government has no longer required passwords, though travelers have reported sporadically being asked about them at airports and other ports of entry.
Through some measures, the number of international visitors in the United States has begun to slide, though foreign tourism to New York City has set a record last year.
The new requirements of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will not take effect immediately. The proposal provides for a 60-day public statement, which ends on 29 May.
On Weibo, one of China's largest social media platforms, several users were critical of the plan.
"Does that mean someone's visa application is likely to be rejected if he / she has been critical of the US?" One wrote. "What about your holy freedom of speech?"
Another Weibo user wrote, "We Chinese have learned the lessons we need to pull out of isolation well enough and now it's America's turn."
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