Background Checks for US Visas to Include Social Media Accounts
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Under a newly approved information collection procedure, some foreigners applying for US visas will be asked for extensive background information, including biographical data for the previous 15 years and social media handles going back as far as five years.
The new set of supplemental questions (warning: this form is a downloadable PDF document), which were proposed by the State Department and approved last month by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), asks applicants to provide details about all employers in the last 15 years, as well as every trip taken outside of the country of residence during that time, including locations visited, date visited, source of funds and length of stay. It also asks applicants to provide all email addresses associated with work, school or personal use and the “unique user name for any websites or applications you have used to create or share content (photos, videos, status updates, etc.) as part of a public profile within the last five years.”
According to the OMB, the questions will not be asked of every applicant, but rather “when the consular officer determines that the circumstances of a visa applicant, a review of a visa application, or responses in a visa interview indicate a need for greater scrutiny.” The OMB also notes that “Consular officers will not request user passwords and will not attempt to subvert any privacy controls the applicants may have implemented on social media platforms.”
Both the instructions on the form as well as the OMB’s request for public comment (which closed in May) note that answering the new supplemental questions is voluntary. However, failure to answer the questions “may delay or prevent the processing of an individual visa application.”
The State Department states it is collecting the additional information in order to deliver on the March 6 directive of the President to “implement additional protocols and procedures focused on ‘ensur[ing] the proper collection of all information necessary to rigorously evaluate all grounds of inadmissibility or deportability, or grounds for the denial of other immigration benefits.'” The President previously implemented two different bans on immigrant travel from six (originally seven) countries. However, those directives have been placed on hold by a number of federal courts. Those rulings were appealed last week and will be brought to the Supreme Court by the Trump Administration.
Featured image courtesy of Fernando Takashi Silva/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees