Updates provided by Michaela Kirkland, Law Clerk, KNG Law, Houston, TX
Friday, May 31, the State Department put into effect a policy that will require nearly all visa applicants to submit any social media accounts they have used during the past five years.
Under this policy, visa applicants to the U.S. will need to submit their social media usernames, email addresses, and phone numbers.
Major social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are listed in a drop-down list on the new visa application. The new forms require the applicant to provide any account names they may have had on these platforms over the previous five years. The visa applicant may also volunteer information about social media accounts on platforms not listed on the form.
A U.S. Department of State official who spoke to The Hill stated that a visa applicant who lies about their social media use could face “serious immigration consequences.”
The Department said, “We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect US citizens while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.”
This extensive vetting was previously only targeted at applicants who are associated with the parts of the world controlled by the various terrorists’ groups. Nonetheless, the rules will now require nearly all the US visa applicants to submit their social media details. Only applicants for certain diplomatic and official visa types are exempted from the requirements.