The U.S. State Department is now requiring virtually all US visa applicants to provide their social media details including usernames, email addresses, and phone numbers in a move to enhance the vet process of potential immigrants and visitors.
In addition to that, U.S. visa applicants will have to submit five years’ worth of previously used email addresses and phone numbers.
Diplomatic members are exempt of this new rule.
This is not something that’s entirely new since the State Department was already requesting that kind of information for those who’ve visited terrorist-controlled areas.
With this new policy put in place, which was proposed in March last year, around 700,000 immigrant visa applicants and 14 million non-immigrant visa applicants are expected to be affected annually.
Here’s a statement from the U.S. State Department to AP News to back up this new policy:
National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications, and every prospective traveler and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening.
We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect US citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.
There will be a new social media section on the DS-160 and DS-260 forms that include all the major social media networks like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram etc. In a drop-down menu format, applicants will list all their social media accounts, which officials will be screened by officials.
Greg Siskind, a Tennessee based immigration lawyer, shared on Twitter a screenshot of what the social media section looks like.
Next time you plan to apply for a U.S. visa, think about providing information about all the social media networks you’ve used for the last five years.
Don’t even think about lying that you’ve never used any social media for the past five years as you could face serious immigration consequences.
Please share this article to your favorite social media so your friends can benefit from it too. Don’t worry this won’t deny your US visa application.