EAH Immigration Blog

Immigrant Visa (DS-260) and Nonimmigrant Visa (DS-160) Applications Likely to Include More Detailed History and Social Media Information

The State Department will likely require nonimmigrant and immigrant visa applicants to provide more detailed histories including social media platforms. In a notice of rulemaking governing electronic Forms DS-260 and DS-160, DOS detailed its intention to require visa applicants to provide identifiers for specified social media platforms during the preceding five years. Other questions seek five years of previously used telephone numbers, email addresses, and international travel, and whether specified family members have been involved in terrorist activities. For the DS-260, the new form would also ask for all prior immigration violations, and, for the DS-160, whether the applicant has been deported or removed from any country. No specific social media services were named in the proposed rule, although DOS reserved the authority to include additional social media platforms at a later date. Another proposed change would combine the DS-160 and DS-156, and discontinue the paper Form DS-156 altogether. The latter form is used for E investors. Consular officers had already begun more intensive vetting of some visa applicants — including requests for their “social media handles” (user names) —  when DOS launched a new supplemental questionnaire, DS-5535 in May 2017. Comments to the proposed rule are due 5/29/2018.

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