Heavy demand causes US visa delays

According to the US Mission in South Africa, there has been heavy demand for US visas, which has led to longer waiting times than usual. The Mission is encouraging potential travellers to apply for their visas at least three months before the planned travel date.

Think before you tweet

THOSE wishing to travel to the US should be mindful of what they post online, following a new requirement for would-be travellers to submit social media information on their visa applications.

The policy is already in effect, according to visa companies canvassed by Travel & Meetings Buyer Visa applicants completing the DS-160 form for non-immigrant visas will be prompted to select the social media platforms on which they are active and input their usernames for each platform. The visa companies were adamant that applicants would not need to input their login details for their social media profiles.

It is not clear what the social media information will be used for, but visa companies suspect that it is to gauge if a potential traveller poses security risks to the US.

Protection of information

This change in visa policy may spark concerns about invasion of privacy, however the Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act protects only private information and, as such, any information that is shared publicly, automatically falls outside the Act’s protection.