DHS Announces It Will Require Social Media Information on Immigration & Visitor Applications

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has revealed it will start to require social media usernames and other information on applications for immigration benefits and visitor visas. Applicants will now have to provide all of the social media accounts and usernames they have used in the last five years. DHS says it will use the information it collects from applicants to decide if they are a “law enforcement or national security risk to the United States."

A notice of the change was published in the Federal Register. According to the notice, the new applications will ask for information about the following social media platforms:

  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Linkedin
  • Weibo
  • Myspace
  • Reddit

DHS stresses it will not require applicants to provide their passwords and will only review information in the public domain.

News of the change came after a Harvard student was denied entry into the country because he followed social media accounts that hold “political points of view that oppose the U.S.”

Under a 2017 executive order that tightened immigration vetting standards, DHS is allowed to collect social media information when it pertains to entry in to the U.S. and immigration benefits. The following will be impacted by the new policy change:

  • Naturalization Applications
  • Asylum Applications
  • Visa Waivers
  • Visa Updates
  • Electronic System for Travel Authorization Document

DHS officials say the new changes will go into effect in 2020.

At the Law Office of Kelli Y. Allen, PLLC, we are committed to serving immigrant clients throughout Charlotte and surrounding areas. If you need help resolving an immigration matter, give us a call at (704) 870-0340 to schedule your consultation with our legal team.

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