Our firm Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP has blogged about the U.S. government’s use of digital information as part of the visa vetting process. The State Department is now requiring both temporary and permanent visa applicants to list their social media accounts.
When completing a DS-160, the Nonimmigrant Visa Application or a form DS-260, the Immigrant Visa Application, the applicant is required to list “each social media platform used within the last five years.” For each platform, the visa applicant is required to enter each and every username or “handle” used. This includes the following social media providers/platforms:
- Qzone (QQ)
- Sina Weibo
- Tencent Weibo
- Vkontakte (VK)
The regulatory proposal for this new action is for the purpose of “identity resolution and vetting purposes based on statutory visa eligibility standards.” The U.S. State Department will search social media to determine whether a foreign national is admissible to the United States or it may be used to identify inconsistencies in the application. Applicants are advised to complete their forms carefully since social media may disclose inconsistencies in regard to employment location, position, or even place of residence.
We will continue to update this story as more information about the use of such social media information by the U.S. government becomes available.