DOS Proposal to Obtain Visa Applicants’ Social Media Information

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) is proposing a number of changes to both the online application for a nonimmigrant visa (form DS-160) and the electronic application for an immigrant (form DS-260). The most significant changes to the forms would be to include requests for information on each applicant’s social media presence, as well as past phone numbers, eMail addresses, and immigration violations.

Background on DS-160 and DS-260

The DS-160 is an online application form that, with few exceptions, must be completed by any foreign national applying for a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. consulate abroad. Similarly, the DS-260 is an online form that must be completed by anyone applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate abroad.

New Questions in Forms

If this change is implemented, both the DS-160 and DS-260 will ask visa applicants to “provide any identifiers used by applicants” for various social media platforms over the past five years. The forms would also ask applicants to list any prior phone numbers or eMail addresses over the past five years.

Applicants would also be asked to disclose whether they ever had been deported or removed from any country, and whether any members of their family ever had been involved in any terrorist activities.

Submit Comments / Concerns Online on Proposed Changes

The public may submit comments to the DOS on the proposed changes to the DS-160 and the DS-260 through May 29, 2018.

Conclusion

U.S. immigration officials continue to take steps to bolster security and more thoroughly screen applicants applying for immigration benefits. As mentioned above, the DOS will accept public comments on the proposals until the end of next month, and then will consider when, or even whether, to implement the changes.

 

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.
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