Whether applying for an immigrant (permanent) or nonimmigrant (temporary) visa, an applicant must follow all steps and provide all requested information in order to be processed. Starting on May 31, 2019, the U.S. Department of State has added additional questions to the online processing forms.
U.S. Department of State proposed the solicitation of social media platform use and usernames from visa applicants for Forms DS-160, DS-156, and DS-260. This proposal is now in effect and the Department of State is now collecting social media identifiers from most U.S. visa applicants. Applicants for a visa to the U.S. are now required to disclose the most recent past five years of social media use and contact. The Department of State indicates that these additions are an effort to implement uniform screening and vetting standards for visa applications pursuant to Executive Order 13780. It hopes that to ensure and improve screening processes to protect U.S. citizens while supporting legitimate travel to the U.S.
Practically, this is another data point which must be both recalled and included on the application. Given the Department of State’s full discretion in the adjudication and approval or denial of visa requests, applicants should be cautioned to disclose all applicable use and contact. Until the forms have been in use for some time, it is hard to determine if in addition to the simple collection of the information how it will be used, how privacy rights are to be affected, or how an honest omission of prior use or contact will factor into a visa applications adjudication.
For now, applicants must honestly and completely disclose and respond to each and every item on the application to proceed through the application process. If you or your family are traveling and must obtain a visa to enter the U.S. or if you or your family will process an immigrant visa at the U.S. Consulate abroad, be sure to read, understand, and accurately complete all forms and documents. If you have questions or concerns, the attorneys at Joseph & Hall P.C. may be able to help. Please call our office to set a consultation.
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