Office of International Programs

Social Media Questions on Visa Application

As part of President Trump’s directive on March 6, 2017 to implement heightened screening and vetting of applications for visas, a new question now appears on the DS-160 and DS-260 forms used by visa applicants at U.S. consulates.

Following the 2017 Presidential Memorandum, the Department of State had published a notice in the Federal Register last year explaining its plans to add several additional questions for nonimmigrant visa applicants, including a question listing multiple social media platforms and requiring the applicant to provide any identifiers (handles) used by applicants for those platforms during the five years preceding the date of application. Now, all DS-160 and DS-260 applications include the request for social media platform usernames. The government reasoned that this information enables “more rigorous evaluation of applications.”

Consular officers have been directed not to engage or interact with individuals on or through social media; not to violate or attempt to violate individual privacy settings; and not to use social media or assess an individual’s social media presence beyond established Department guidance. The same safeguards that protect a visa applicant’s personal information will remain in effect for social media identifiers. The collection of social media platforms and identifiers will not be used to deny visas based on applicants’ race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, political views, gender, or sexual orientation. Consular officers will not request user passwords and will not attempt to subvert any privacy controls the applicants may have implemented on these platforms.

Next time you plan to apply for your visa stamp, be prepared to provide a five-year history of the social media platforms you have used and your usernames.

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