If you plan to apply for a U.S. visa, you will now be required to submit information about social media accounts that you have used in the past five years. As a result of the new State Department policy, the government will now have access to photos, locations, dates of birth, dates of milestones, and other personal data commonly shared by visa applicants on social media.
In a statement, the State Department said, “We already request certain contact information, travel history, family member information, and previous addresses from all visa applicants. We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect U.S. citizens while supporting legitimate travel to the United States.”
When applicants apply for a visa, the new application will ask them for information about popular social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube. Applicants can also provide additional information about social media platforms not listed in the drop-down menus. Applicants have to provide all of their usernames or handles, email addresses, and phone numbers for each social media platform used in the last five years.
The requirement of collecting information about the social media accounts of visa applicants was part of President Trump’s executive order to the secretary of state, the attorney general, the secretary of homeland security, and the director of national intelligence; ordering them all to put in effect “a uniform baseline for screening and vetting standards and procedures. ”
Immigrants’ rights groups are concerned that this new policy from the Trump administration could lead to self-censorship and unfair profiling of applicants. Speaking about the policy, Elora Mukherjee, director of the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School, said, “This seems to be part and parcel of the same effort to have extraordinary broad surveillance of citizens and non-citizens. Given the scope of the surveillance efforts, it is hard to find a rational basis for the broad surveillance the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security have been doing for almost two years.”
Consult With an Experienced Attorney Today
Do you have questions about how this new policy might impact your application when you apply for a U.S. visa? If so, you should speak to your legal team at Davis & Associates about the details of your case. We can guide you through the application process and ensure that your rights and interests are fully protected. Our law firm is committed to providing our clients with high-quality immigration legal services, and we are prepared to get to work for you today.
Call (214) 999-1942 to schedule your free consultation with a dedicated immigration lawyer.