Following a 2017 Presidential Memorandum issued by the Trump Administration, which called for heightened screening and vetting of visa applicants, the Department of State has included a new question on forms DS-160 and DS-260, which are used for nonimmigrant and immigrant visa applicants at U.S. consulates respectively, which ask about social media use. The question requires applicants to list all social media platforms they use and include associated handles used by applicants for those platforms during the 5-year period preceding the date of the application.
Going forward, visa applicants should expect to have to supply this information when completing a DS-160 or DS-260 in connection with their consular application for U.S. immigration benefits. The State Department has confirmed that the same privacy safeguards that are in place to protect the applicant’s personal information provided on these forms will also apply to the social media information. In addition, consular officers have been instructed not to interact with applicants through social media, not to violate an individual’s privacy settings, and not to use the individual’s social media presence for purposes beyond verifying information that established in State Department Guidelines.