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SylviaInCanada Report 4 Jun 2019 01:16

.......... for those of you who like to visit the US

New rules were announced by the US over the weekend. I don't know if any media have publicised them in other countries as yet.

Almost anyone who applies for any kind of visa, green card, etc, including a visa for holiday travel to the US will have to provide their social media usernames, previous email addresses and phone numbers..

The new visa application form lists a number of social media platforms and requires the applicant to provide any account names they may have had on them over the previous five years. It also gives applicants the option to volunteer information about social media accounts on platforms not listed on the form.

In addition, visa applicants will now be 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 only exceptions will be for certain diplomatic and official visa types.

This is in addition to Customs and Immigration Officers at the Port of Entry having the right to demand complete access to your phones, iPads, laptops, etc


Allan Report 4 Jun 2019 01:28

Yes, this has been reported in the Australian news services. I have no intention of visiting the United Sates of North Korea...sorry...America.

Strangely it is one country that I have never had the desire to visit.


SylviaInCanada Report 4 Jun 2019 03:13

It's set the cat among the pigeons up here ......... Canadians are currently exempt because we do not need a visa to visit the US. But who knows what will happen in the future.

We are liable for the last bit ............. Border Security demanding access to cell phones, etc.

Allan ........... we haven't been below the line in at least 12 years.


Dermot Report 4 Jun 2019 07:33

How is the USA/Mexican wall progressing? :-\


+++DetEcTive+++ Report 4 Jun 2019 09:32

The demand to access portable devices has been mentioned in the media. It’s been tacked onto stories about people being denied entry. The denial was based on the belief that they intended to illegally settle with a resident boy/girl friend.

We visited our daughter twice while she lived there for a couple of years. We’ve no burning desire to return.


RolloTheRed Report 4 Jun 2019 10:45

The primary objective is to get people's contact lists with which they can build up a chain of contacts. Thus having a FB friend in Teheran or even a friend of a friend and your visa is lunch. Then of course all this info is cross referenced for business purposes and those on the current FoggyBottom sh t list.
For UK citizens there is not much you can do about it even if you have never been to the USA and have no intention to do so 'cos GCHQ obligingly make all manner of UK private data available to the US as part of the five eyes deal. All of the trunk fibres pass through the UK which gives the UK every opportunity to intercept , something they have been doing since the days of cable and the "Victorian internet".

If you have ever had an email account with one of the top US email & social media accounts US security will have a file on you regardless of your travel habits.

The Supreme Court has ruled that it is illegal for US Homeland Security to collect bulk data relating to US citizens. This ruling does not apply to US communications with foreigners even within the USA. One reason that Canadian citizens are not so far affected is that Canada gives the US all the access it might want anyway as part of 5eyes and defence deals.

Note that all terrorist violence within the US over the past five years or so has been committed by US citizens wielding semi-automatic weapons with educational and religious places top targets.

TMay intended to implement a similar system post Brexit inc the EU, As it was very much May's project it may or may not survive her passing. Right now the focus has moved back to a favorite Tory meme, online pron.


AnninGlos Report 4 Jun 2019 15:27

Thank you Sylvia, we have visited USA many times and loved what we saw . Sadly we feel it is too long a journey and too much hassle to visit again. Last time was briefly three years ago when we went on a short cruise. However daughter is due to visit soon so I will warn her, in case she does not already know.


SylviaInCanada Report 4 Jun 2019 17:05

Ann ............. good idea.

Forewarned is forearmed, as the old saying goes!

The advice being given to us is ....... do not take any devices with you that can be checked.

BUT on the other hand, if you have to fill out the form to get a visitor's visa with the information, then you will be in the deepest doo-doo if they find out that you do own devices with social media accounts even if you do not take them to the US.


SylviaInCanada Report 4 Jun 2019 17:09

Dermot ......

that's a whole separate issue.

1. Trump slapped a 5% tariff on June 1 on goods shipped from Mexico to the US, to be increased by 5% per month until it reaches 25% in September, unless they immediately stop all illegal immigrants crossing the border into the US.

2. He issued an Emergency Order to divert money to build the wall, but I think is before the courts.


Dermot Report 4 Jun 2019 17:21

SylviainCanada - In my innocence, I was hinting that undocumented illegals barging into the USA wouldn't bother themselves too much with such dreary form-filling & the like.


SylviaInCanada Report 4 Jun 2019 18:10

Dermot ................

you would be surprised!!!!

Most of them do have at least cell phones, most of the more expensive type.


Madge Report 4 Jun 2019 19:30

God they'd find my data mega boring


SylviaInCanada Report 4 Jun 2019 19:41

Madge ...........

but it could be that someone you've got on your device also talks to someone who talks to someone who might be dangerous to the US


Madge Report 4 Jun 2019 21:51

Sylvia my life is not that exciting or my friends ( I can not discount Muffy) but they are always welcome to look, was in the USA last year for 3 weeks went to Vega LA and Hawaii so will not be going back for a few years :-D


SylviaInCanada Report 5 Jun 2019 00:24

how boring for the US Border Security :-D :-D

We were last down there in 2007, and have absolutely no plans on going back soon.


supercrutch Report 5 Jun 2019 10:20

We will avoid travelling via the US at all costs.

Having had experienced the downright rudeness of one Officer Kelly on our return from Guatemala we both said never again.

The chap on the outward bound trip was bad enough but Officer Kelly took the absolute biscuit. No consideration for my disability at all and the questions were a) intrusive b)not relevant c)not answers I was happy giving in a public area.

Our ESTA expired a few weeks ago and we didn't renew.

It was wonderful to arrive back at Heathrow to be greeted by a smiling passport control officer who was so pleasant I could have hugged him...lolol



SylviaInCanada Report 5 Jun 2019 17:46

Sue ..............

been there, done that!!

In my experience, the nice Border Guard, whether that be at a land entry or airport (not done a sea entry,) is very rare. That's based on over 50 years of crossing into and out of the US.

They usually are grumpy at the least, nasty at the worst

The nicest one that I think I've ever had was actually on the Mexico-US border at Tijuana.

We were at a meeting in San Diego around 2004/5, and I took a "spouses tour" to Tijuana. Going south wasn't bad, but coming back the coach had to go through the truck crossing not the car crossing. It started bad ..........

a) As we got close to the border at that crossing, the road was bounded on both sides by high fences, with lots of white crosses attached .............. where Mexicans had been killed trying to enter the US. The last time I saw that was in Berlin in about 1985, before the Wall came down.

b) At the actual crossing, we all had to get out of the coach, with ALL our belongings ......... some people had bought lots in Tijuana, so you can imagine how burdened we were! The coach was then driven away to be thoroughly searched in case some poor Mexican had managed to hide on it. We had to walk through the border station, with the first being the sort of security usually seen at an airport .... put all your stuff on the the table and then to go through the X-ray machine.

We were very sternly warned by our tour guide before we got off the bus that we were IN NO CIRCUMSTANCES to talk or smile at the border guards.

So that was a bad introduction.

However, I seem to be the sort of person that people DO smile at and talk to.

The guard in charge of the X-ray machine smiled at me, then grinned broadly as he saw that my very large bottle of Kahlua had fallen over in the machine (didn't break!)..

Uh oh ................ the tour guide had already gone through and I could see his face dropping!!!

Then I got to Border Security, and handed over my passport. The guard took it, flipped through the pages, and then the following conversation but without him ever looking up from my passport ...........

Him: "I wish Americans had passports. Americans are stupid aren't we?"

Me (thinking as fast as I could):- "errrrrrrrrmmm. Maybe some are?"

Him:- "No, we are. We should all have passports"

Me:- "Well, I need a passport to get back into Canada"

Him:- "See, we are stupid"

and he gave me a big grin!!!

The tour guide was almost passing out at the back of the room! He was obviously imagining that a serious conversation was taking place and he might have to rescue me from prison :-D:

He asked me what had gone on ........... and I just told him the guy had said all Americans should have to have passports :-D:


supercrutch Report 5 Jun 2019 18:09

Oh Sylvia you did make me laugh.

Reminded me of warnings I have had before but nothing untoward ever happened. Had the car stripped down when returning from Germany (I guess the four of us looked shifty).

We were sprayed with insecticide before we landed in Australia and had to pay huge fines for taking in too many cigarettes (that was Heathrow's fault).

When my son started travelling he crossed into Guatemala and the guards searched the luggage bays, one appeared on the bus clutching son's backpack and asked who owned it, son said it was his and the guard and had further rifle through the contents and handed it to him. Not unknown for items to disappear during searches.

Now when he was stopped returning to Guatemala in the States, he phoned me at 1 a.m. to say they required him to have a return ticket. Where the hell was I going to buy a return ticket in US$ (which they insisted on) at that time. Blind panic but I managed to get a ticket but he missed his scheduled flight and had to take a later one. All the time me telling him that Americans do not understand British sarcasm/humour/irony and to keep his mouth SHUT. Him telling the security officer they aren't the brightest bulb in the store would have seen him spending a while in airport detention.


SylviaInCanada Report 5 Jun 2019 20:06

Oh dear Sue!!!! Hope he took mother's advice, and kept quiet.

I was VERY sorely tempted to give a response to that guard might have landed me in the back room!

We were also sprayed with insecticide as the plane was going in to land in Australia years ago. The vision of the cabin attendant walking down the aisle with a pray can in each hand is almost permanently etched in my memory.

Thank heavens they've stopped that!

We had an interesting conversation with the Customs lady on duty late at night in Perth, the last time we went to Australia (2006).

She looked at the forms we had filled in, pointed to the question re drugs we had with us ............... marked none as always. Then she looked at us, and said

"Aren't either of you on prescription medication?"

Me:- "Er, yes, I am"

Her:- "Well those are drugs, aren't they? What prescription medications do you have with you?"

Luckily, I always carried prescription medications in my carry-on even before the rules mandated that you had to, so I had to find them and show her.

Then she allowed us in.

I did wonder whether it was the fact that the plane had come from Singapore and we were carrying Canadian passports :-D

We had flown from Vancouver -> Hong Kong -> Singapore -> Perth, partly because our travel agent got a good deal, but also because we wanted to take the train (the Indian Pacific) to Adelaide.


LindainHerriotCountry Report 6 Jun 2019 19:57

I am going to America this summer, so have applied for the Esta. I hope they don’t check out all the people I talk to on here :-D

I have just checked and it has been approved.

They put the border guards at Orlando through charm school as there were so many complaints about their rudeness, it was really noticeable when we went in just after that, they were actually friendly.

The stupidest one was when he asked me how many times I had visited the States. At that time the answer was three ,the current trip being my fourth time. He wasn’t having that. He was absolutely insistent that. I had only been twice before. He. was incredibly rude, but I just bit my lip and said nothing