Immigration News: Collection of Social Media Identifiers from Visa Applicants

Have you thought about applying for a visa to travel to the USA?  If so, then as of May 31, 2019, you must be prepared to provide information about your social media presence. As a result of an updated application format, about 15 million people per year will be affected. Thus, applicants for a US visa are now required to provide details on their social media profiles, phone numbers, and email addresses.

The US Department of State confirmed that it has modified its application forms "for migrants and non-migrants" visas so as to "request additional information from most applicants, including social media identifiers."  According to that Department, "national security is our top priority when adjudicating visas applications. … We are constantly working to find mechanisms to improve our screening processes to protect US citizens, while supporting legitimate entry to the United States." These changes are a result of President Trump’s March 6, 2017, “Memorandum on Implementing Heightened Screening and Vetting of Applications for Visas and other Immigration Benefits” and Section 5 of Executive Order 13780 regarding implementing uniform screening and vetting standards for visa applications.

The forms now include requests for information about an applicant’s social media platforms. Consequently, applicants must list usernames, email addresses, and telephone numbers that they have used within the past five years. This information must be supplied for immigrant visas as well as for visas for temporary tourism, business, and educational stays in the United States. Applicants may voluntarily provide additional information about such contacts. Prior to implementation of the new procedure, only certain applicants were only required to provide information about their social media data, meaning applicants from countries that were controlled by terrorist organizations.

Most EU citizens can enter the United States under a Visa Waiver Program (ESTA) without a visa. As a result, such citizens will not be required to complete the modified forms.  However, citizens from some EU countries, such as Poland, Croatia, Romania or Bulgaria, are not eligible for ESTA, so they will have to share their social media information.

See also the Department of State announcement here: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/News/visas-news/20190604_collection-of-social-media-identifiers-from-U.-S.-visa-applicants.html

Located in Miami, Florida the Law Office of Ellen von Geyso, P.A., assists individuals and businesses with all types of Business Visas, as well as Green Cards, Naturalization, and Family Immigration matters. In the event that your visa application has been denied, or you have been denied entry into the US, we can help you with an application for a "waiver" to overcome charges of inadmissibility. If you have been arrested, charged or convicted we can file a waiver application, if appropriate.

Ellen von Geyso is admitted in Germany and the US. Thus, we also offer advice and counsel regarding German immigration matters; complex German citizenship issues, including dual citizenship matters such as applications to retain German Citizenship when becoming a US Citizen (Beibehaltungsgenehmigungen); Restoration of German Citizenship after an inadvertent loss (Wiedereinbürgerungen); and Naturalizations according to Art 116 II GG. 

We are able to represent your interests on immigration matters in all U.S. States and at U.S. Consulates worldwide.

For further questions on this article or other immigration related issues you can contact Ellen von Geyso. She can be reached at info@vongeyso.com or 305.2984365.