October 15, 2019

October 14, 2019

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

US Visa Applicants Now Required To Provide Social Media Identifiers

On May 31, 2019, the US Department of State updated their Form DS-160 (online nonimmigrant visa application) and Form DS-260 (online immigrant visa application) to collect social media identifiers for those applying for nonimmigrant and immigrant visas. Applicants for US visas are now being asked to provide all social media identifiers they have used within the past five (5) years. This update was announced in a statement to the press by a US Department of State official on June 1, 2019.

A social media “handle” or “identifier” is any name used by the individual on social media platforms including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The updated visa application forms currently employ a drop-down menu which list the specific social media platforms for which identifiers are being requested. An example of the drop-down menu from online visa application form can be seen below:

It is important to note that the US Department of State IS NOT asking applicants to provide the passwords to their social media accounts. Consular Officers will not ask applicants to provide the passwords to their social media accounts, and will not have the ability to modify privacy controls visa applicants may have implemented on their accounts.

In addition to requesting applicants’ social media identifiers, the US Department of State is also asking applicants to provide five years of previously used telephone numbers, email addresses, international travel and deportation status, as well as whether any family members have been involved in terrorist activities.

The above changes to the Form DS-160 and Form DS-260 only applies to visa applicants, and does not apply to individuals traveling under the Visa Waiver Program.

The immigration authorities are increasingly relying on social media as a method for conducting low-level background checks and testing the veracity of statements provided to immigration officers.

Additional information regarding the new social media identifier requirements can be found here.

© 2019 Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP

TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS


About this Author

Benjamin Lau Immigration Lawyer Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp Law Firm
Associate

It all started with the green display of an Apple IIe computer and a platformer game called Apple Cider Spider, and from there he was hooked. As Ben grew older, his interest in video games would also grow, along with an industry that has turned into a multi-billion dollar behemoth within the entertainment field.  As video games, aka interactive multimedia entertainment productions, advanced from 8-bit displays into resolution counted in the thousands, Ben’s knowledge and interest grew as well.  Ben understands that today’s productions are more than a game with a single goal, they are full...

310-312-3774
David Rugendorf, Mitchel Silberberg Law Firm, Immigration and Labor and Employment Law Attorney, Los Angeles
Partner

David Rugendorf practices immigration and nationality law, representing employers, entrepreneurs and individuals in administrative petitions to governmental agencies. Representative industries served include entertainment and media, technology, food and beverage, fashion and apparel, commercial airlines, sports, museums and private foundations, among others. David counsels his international clients with regard to travel and global mobility issues related to admission to the United States.  He advises his clients with regard to minimizing negative immigration consequences of criminal convictions and other grounds of inadmissibility to the United States.  David practices before federal courts and administrative tribunals in deportation defense matters both at the trial and appellate level.

310-312-3118