New Social Media Information Requirement for U.S. Visas

Hello, this is Anna from IMS.

News has arisen this weekend that the US department of the state will start requiring almost all applicants for immigrant and nonimmigrant visas to provide their social media information in their application.

Form DS-160, the online form for visa applicants, has already been updated to reflect these changes after the website went down for maintenance on May 31st. (Screenshot of what the new question looks like can be seen on Twitter here ).

Applicants are asked to provide any social media information relevant in the last 5 years on a multiplicity of platforms; in addition, they will also be required to include any past email addresses, phone numbers, and international travel history.

The new questions do not apply to some foreign diplomats or official visa types. Otherwise, the newly added question cannot be skipped (we tried). As all answers must be truthful, withholding this information could run the risk of your application being delayed or potentially even denied for false representation.

This mandatory disclosure of social media information is raising concern for those who advocate for privacy rights as well as those who believe this will only create yet another obstacle to legal migration.

According to various articles provided below, the State Department has estimated this would affect 710,000 immigrant visa applicants and 14 million nonimmigrant visa applicants, which include those who want to come to the US for business or education purposes.

This news comes after a proposal regarding this was announced in March of last year (news seen here , here ) in an attempt to impose more regulations on immigration as according to an Executive Order by the Trump administration released in 2017.

As of right now, this change has yet to be reflected via any news bulletin or announcement on the department of State-US Visa homepage ( here ), nor has there been a press release article about it on the Department of State website ( here ).

 

Additional Information:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-48486672

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/state-department-now-requires-us-visa-applicants-to-share-social-media-accounts-2019-06-01/

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/02/us/us-visa-application-social-media.html

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/06/02/politics/state-department-social-media-visa/index.html

 

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