US Visa Applicants Now to Disclose Social Media Details and History of 5 Years Screening

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According to a new State Department policy, Most US Visa Applicants Now to Disclose Social Media Details and History of 5 Years Screening

In 2017, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had approached the government to let them access the social media accounts of those applying for immigrant and tourist visas to the United States. It is now official. Sharing of social media details will soon become a fundamental norm to enter the US. And visitors will have to comply with it while filling the entry form or applying for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization visa (ESTA).

Travelers who are planning a trip to the United States and need to complete the online nonimmigrant visa application to enter the country will find a new section on the DS-160 form. As of Friday, an updated version of the form now requires applicants to include all of their social media accounts.

The form allows for applicants to add multiple accounts from multiple social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Youtube. For the select group of you still hanging out with Tom over on MySpace, the US government wants to know about that too.

Applicants who don’t fully disclose their social media accounts could “face serious immigration issues” a US Department of State official told The Hill.

DS-160 Social Media Section.

DS-160 Social Media Section.

The move is related to the current administration’s promise from 2017 to put “extreme vetting” into place for those who wish to enter the United States, and the new policy was first proposed back in March of 2018.

DS-160 Social Media Platforms.

DS-160 Social Media Platforms.

The state department official told the Hill that, “As we’ve seen around the world in recent years, social media can be a major forum for terrorist sentiment and activity. This will be a vital tool to screen out terrorists, public safety threats, and other dangerous individuals from gaining immigration benefits and setting foot on U.S. soil.”

According to the AP, nearly 15 million people per year will be affected by the new requirements. For now, tourists from the 38 countries covered by the Visa Waiver Program have the option of listing but are not required to list social media accounts on the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) form.