SOCIAL MEDIA USERNAMES REQUIRED TO BE DISCLOSED ON US VISA APPLICATIONS
The time arrived the U.S. State Department began implementing the requirement that nearly all U.S. visa applicants submit their social media usernames, previous email addresses and phone numbers as part of the application process. This new requirement will affect up to 15 million travelers to the United States.
This was first discussed and implemented for only select few in March 2018, however, the State Department only just updated the application forms to request the additional information.
“National security is our top priority when adjudicating visa applications, and every prospective traveler and immigrant to the United States undergoes extensive security screening,” the Department of State said in a statement to the Associated Press. “We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect U.S. citizens, while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.”
New questions on the visa application forms list social media platforms and require applicants to provide any account names they may have had on them for a five-year period. The forms also request phone numbers and email addresses applicants have used over the past five years, along with their international travel and deportation status and whether any family members have been involved in terrorist activities.
For quite some time we have discussed with clients to be sure that their social media is 100% in line with their intentions in the United States. So many have social media posts that directly conflict with what they are stating to the US consulate at their visa interviews or at the border upon entry. Now that they will have full access to this information it is critical to be sure that when applying for a visa or upon entry into the United States that you have full knowledge of what is on your social media. At a time when the scrutiny is already elevated significantly this is just another level of access the United States will have when you are looking to apply for a visa abroad.