In May 2019, the U.S. State Department began asking visa applicants at consulates abroad information related to their social media accounts for the previous five years. Those questions are found on Form DS-160 (nonimmigrant visas) and Form DS-260 (immigrant visas)
This new policy will affect millions of visa applicants and it could have serious immigration consequences for those who attempt to conceal their social media accounts.
Both temporary visitors and those seeking permanent residence are required to fill out the new forms that require the disclosure of the usernames of major social media accounts. Such social media accounts include Facebook, Instagram, Myspace, and Twitter to name a few. While applicants are required to reveal their usernames, they are not required and should not provide their passwords.
Applicants have the option of stating that they do not use social media but lying could have immigration consequences such as denials or being charged with misrepresentation and/or fraud. Applicants are also required to provide five years of telephone numbers, email addresses, and travel history.
The policy could affect millions of travelers as their conversations and social media postings can be misconstrued and misunderstood. Visa applicants should be careful to not post anything on their personal social media pages that imply a gang or terrorist affiliation, even in a playful manner. Such posts could lead to visa delays or denials. Any social media posts which show you engaging in any type of illegal activity could subject you to a ground of admissibility and lead to your visa application being denied.
In response to the new policy, visa applicants should carefully review their social media accounts and delete content that might be problematic or misconstrued. Visa applicants should also review the privacy settings on their social media accounts and make accounts private or restricted.
If you need more information about how your social media can affect you, the attorneys at Kuck Baxter Immigration are available to help you.