If you are going to apply for a US Visa in the future, you are now required to provide Social Media Information to the US Embassy/US Consulates.
There is now a new question now appears on the DS-160 and DS-260 forms used by visa applicants at U.S. consulates. You must provide Social media user names used in the last 5 years.
The US 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.
What is the government's perspective?
This process helps with the rigorous evaluation of applications. The government also states that failure to collect this information would impede such rigorous evaluation and the national-security purposes for which it was directed when the circumstances of an individual applicant, a review of a visa application, or responses in a visa interview indicate a need for additional information to resolve the applicant’s identity or to vet for terrorism or other national security-related visa ineligibility.
What about Privacy?
Consular officers are required not to engage or interact with applicants on 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 guidance by the USDOS. This also safeguards a visa applicant’s personal information and 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 the Visa applicants’ race, religion, ethnicity, national origin. US Consular officers will not request any passwords of your accounts.
What is next for US Visa Applicants?
In the future, if 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.
What do you think of this new requirement? Please post under Comments.
Questions on Groups (Updating as we see them)
Q: I submitted my DS-160 a few weeks ago. Do I need to re-submit new DS-160 with this new social media thing going on?
Answer: It does not affect the application filled in the past, you don't have to re-submit
Q: I am applying for renewal of visitor visa from India, should this question be answered mandatorily by username or just select None
Answer: If you have any Social Media Accounts, please do not lie on the form and be honest. If you lie and the government is able to find an account in your name, your visa may be rejected and you may be barred from coming to America.