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Social Media Alert! New regulations require disclosure of social media information on most visa applications.
Effective immediately, the State Department has amended the DS-160 and DS-260 application forms and now requires that most visa applicants provide information associated with their online social media accounts, including the types of online providers or platforms, applications and websites used to collaborate, share information and interact with others.
This new regulation follows a State Department publication from 2018, in which a notice was published of the proposed information-collection requirement.
As a result of this new requirement, DS-160 and DS-260 visa application will now include sections that require the applicant to provide any “identifiers” used by the applicant across multiple social media platforms during the last five years leading up to the application date. In addition to that, applicants will have the option to provide information about social media account outside of what they have already listed.
This new information requested includes but is not necessarily limited to social media and information sharing cites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. For now, the State Department is only requesting the account names of the relevant accounts to be disclosed, which allows the government to access any information that has been shared publicly through those accounts by the applicant.
It is important that all current and future DS-160 and DS-260 applicants be aware of these new changes and have all of the necessary information available upon request. Even if a submitted application is already pending, there is a possibility that the information could be requested either through a consular interview or through an RFE requesting the information be submitted, so applicants need to be prepared to discuss and disclose such information as required by the State Department.