Last week, the U.S. Department of State updated the DS160 and DS260 forms to include a question asking for the applicant’s last 5 years of social media information. The DS160 form is an electronic form used for U.S. nonimmigrant visa application, the DS260 form is used for immigrant visa applications. The forms collect the necessary information from the applicant including personal, address, family, travel, security, and more.

The question is on the “Address and Phone Information” page, and is worded as follows, “Do you have a social media presence?” Under the question, the applicant is provided with a list of social media platforms including:

  • Douban
  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • Google+
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Myspace
  • Pinterest
  • QZone (QQ)
  • Reddit
  • Sina Weibo
  • Tencent Weibo
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter
  • Twoo
  • Vine
  • Vkontakte (VK)
  • Youku
  • YouTube
  • None

If any of the options other than “none” are selected, a box appears for the applicant to enter their social media username. The form requires all social media handles that the applicant have used for the last 5 years. Passwords for the social media handles are not required. The State Department have stated that the social media information will be used to validate the applicant’s identity, they will check the information on your social media to check if the applicant is eligible for visas, if the applicant is associated with terrorist activities or will threat the U.S. in some way. Social media information for diplomatic and official visa applicants will not be asked.

Applicants should always provide truthful information on visa application forms, any misrepresentation will be considered to be fraud and can result in a permanent bar from the country. Please keep in mind that even if you delete the account before applying for the visa, the question is asking for social media information in the last five years. Information on the internet can be cached in places and deleting the account doesn’t guarantee that all information on it will also be deleted.

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