State Dept. Investigating Your Social Media Accounts

We wrote previously about the government’s proposed changes to visa applications to include questions about an applicant’s social media history.   About a year later, the Department of State has added a section to Form DS-160 inquiring about visa applicants’ social media presence.

The social media section requests social media information used over the past 5 years. Applicants choose from an extensive list of social media platforms, from Facebook to LinkedIn to YouTube. They then must insert their usernames or handles for each platform.

This new question requires the disclosure of substantial information. It may require applicants to hunt down information from social media accounts they no longer actively use. This adds to the length of the application and raises privacy and free speech concerns. Applicants may be afraid to post freely on social media out of fear that their content may be misconstrued and used to deny them a visa. As always, we remind our clients to make sure any public information on social media sites is truthful and consistent with your immigration strategy.  This will minimize the chance of the U.S. government mistakenly claiming it has contradictory evidence.

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