Any social media accounts to declare? Visa applicants would have to declare them

Pierluigi Paganini April 01, 2018

The US Department of State wants to ask visa applicants to provide details on the social media accounts they’ve managed in the past five years.

The US Government wants to make it mandatory for all foreigners (immigrant /non-immigrant) to provide social media details, telephone numbers, email addresses, and international travel during this period. when applying for a visa to enter the US.

The proposed changes to the process followed by President Trump’s March 2017 Memorandum and Executive Order 13780.

The plan is currently under approval by the Office of Management and Budget, US authorities want to modify the three visa application forms DS-156, DS-160, and DS-260. The Department of State aims to expand the collection information by adding questions to its Electronic Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration (DS-260).

social media US gov

The Department of State published a notice of request for public comment in the Federal Register last week, the deadline is May 29, 2018.

“The Department is revising the collection to add several additional questions for immigrant visa applicants. One question lists multiple social media platforms and requires the applicant to provide any identifiers used by applicants for those platforms during the five years preceding the date of application. The platforms listed may be updated by the Department by adding or removing platforms.” reads the notice.

The Department of State will likely ask applicants for account names related to the major social media platforms.

Security experts are concerned about the way the US Government will manage these data, the Department of State’s notice says the DS-260 will be submitted electronically over an encrypted connection to the Department via the internet.

The Department of State estimates that the new process will affect 710,000 immigrant visa applicants attempting to enter the US and 14 million non-immigrant visa applicants.

The Department of State already collects some applicants’ information, travel history, family member information, and previous addresses.

Since 2016, the US Government already collect optional information about accounts on major social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – social media, US Government)

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