Background and the basis for new regulation:
Present administration as part of their goal to increase overall screening and vetting process for US visa applications published new regulation in August 2018 for public comments. Those regulations recommended options for adding social media questions for DS-160 and DS-260 forms that are used for non-immigrant US visa applications. That law is implemented at present and is applicable for all non-immigrants entering the USA.
This information will be used to validate your identity, your information presented in the visa application to check if you are eligible for a US visa based on the requirements. The intended purpose is to weed out applicants associated with terrorist groups, activities, or threats to the USA. However, that does not include disagreement with the policy, moral issues with administration. They will also not check social media information for diplomatic and official visa applicants. The regulation can be found here. It is included in under Additional Information section:
“The Department also is revising the collection to add several additional questions for most nonimmigrant visa applicants. One question lists multiple social media platforms and requires the applicant to provide any identifiers used by applicants for those platforms during the five years preceding the date of application. The platforms listed may be updated by the Department by adding or removing platforms.”
Which part of DS-160, DS-260 US Visa forms requires social media information?
You will find a social media dropdown box under “Address and Phone number page”. This page includes a new section that will provide options to document your social media presence. Help section provides more details about the requirement:
What type of social media Information is required?
Provide a screen name, list of websites, or other identifiers associated with your social media profile. No need to provide passwords. Also, remember to provide additional username, or handle for a single platform, if you use multiple usernames to collaborate, share information, and interact with others. No need to list accounts designed for use by multiple users within a business or other organization. Below is a long list of social media platforms(20+) that are listed on the DS-160, 260 forms. Some of them do not exist anymore fully or might have merged with some other company or platform. You will see all of them in the drop-down like below. If you are not on any of the Social media platforms, you can select NONE.
- SINA WEIBO
- TENCENT WEIBO
What not to do:
Refrain from providing false information about your employer, or marital status if you are applying for a dependent visa. For example if you are applying for a dependent visa, update your marital status from single. Make sure to update your employers’ information accurately, do not swap your company’s name with your client’s name. Also, deleting, deactivating social media account will not nullify all the data for the past five years, they will be available in the cache, and can be found out. Do not click the option “None” if you have any social media account. Under the previous administration, providing social media information was optional, but with the new rule, it has become mandatory for all nonimmigrant visas, including dual intent visas such as H1b, L1, etc.
Please Note: Form DS-160 is completely electronic, and has to be submitted online. All the data submitted via DS-160 is stored directly in the Department of State(DOS) database.
If you have questions about this information please get in touch with us to learn more, and to figure out your next steps.