Trump Administration as part of their goal to increase overall screening and vetting process for US visa applications, published regulation last year in 2018 for public comments that included options such as adding additional social media questions for DS-160 and DS-260 forms that are used for US visa applications. Now, that regulation is implemented in US visa application form such as DS-160, DS-260 forms. In this article, we will look at what are the social media related questions asked in those DS-160 and DS-260 forms, why they are asked and what you need to answer and also actual screenshots of the questions asked.
Before we look at the details of what will be asked, let’s look at what Dept of State/ DHS will do with your social media details.
What will US Dept of State/ DHS do with your Social Media Accounts Info on DS-160, 260 form ?
US Department of State says that they will collect and use the Social Media Information of the US visa applicants for “identity resolution and vetting purposes based on statutory visa eligibility standards”. Essentially, all it means is that they will use it to validate your identity, your information presented in visa application to check if you are eligible for US visa based on their requirements such as, for example you cannot get visa, if you are associated with terrorist activities or threat to the US in some way… They will not check the social media info for diplomatic and official visa applicants. Below is the actual text from the regulation. Check Federal Register
What are the social media related questions asked in DS-160, DS-260 US Visa forms ?
As you fill out DS-160 or DS-160 form as part of US Visa application, you will see additional question under a minor section called “Social Media”, which is part of the “Address and Phone Information Page”. It has guidance text as listed below on how you should fill it out. See below the exact text that is for guidance. In short, they are asking you to provide your Social Media presence for the last 5 years. You need to share the username that is used by you in the social media platform. You can add more than one social media accounts by platform.
Actual Social Media Guidance Text on DS-160 Form
Do you have a social media presence?
“Select from the list below each social media platform you have used within the last five years. In the space next to the platform’s name, enter the username or handle you have used on that platform. Please do not provide your passwords. If you have used more than one platform or more than one username or handle on a single platform, click the ‘Add Another’ button to list each one separately. If you have not used any of the listed social media platforms in the last five years, select ‘None.’”
The help guidance that is given for that is
“Help: Social Media
Enter information associated with your online presence, including the types of online providers/platforms, applications and websites that you use to collaborate, share information, and interact with others. List the username, handle, screen-name, or other identifiers associated with your social media profile. (You do not need to list accounts designed for use by multiple users within a business or other organization.)“
Sample Social Media Questions on DS-160 Form and DS-260 Form
Below is the exact sample screenshot from the Social Media Section of the DS-160, 260 form. As you can see below, you can add more platforms and remove by clicking on Add and remove buttons. You can add more than one as you can see in below screenshot.
List of Social Media Platforms that are listed on the DS-160 and DS-260 form
Below are the complete list of social media platforms that are listed on the DS-160, 260 forms. Some of them do not exist anymore fully or merged with some other company or platform. You will see all of them in the drop down like below. If you are not on any of the Social media platforms, you can select NONE. See below list and screenshot of the dropdown
- SINA WEIBO
- TENCENT WEIBO
What exactly do I need to share related to my Social media account on DS-160 form ? What is my Facebook Username ? Twitter handle ? etc.
Every social media platform has a username or handle tied to your account. Usually, it is in the settings section. You need to share that User Name / User ID or Handle. For example, in case of Facebook, if you go to settings section, you will find it, see below. For Twitter you can see the twitter handle on your profile itself. See below.
I have two Facebook Accounts that I use for different purposes, do I need to list both ? Can I list both ? Does DS-160 form allow that ? How about multiple accounts in other Social Media platforms ?
Yes, you should list both of your Facebook accounts user id and details in DS-160 form. Yes, the system allows you to add two or more Facebook accounts, see below screenshot. It applies to other social media platforms like twitter or other platforms, you can add and should add multiple accounts, if you use them.
Do I need to disclose my Social Media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Password as well on DS-160, DS-260 forms
No, there is no need or requirement to share the password. You just need to share the username/ userid or handle in the social media account. In general, it is your account and you should NOT share the password with anyone. You
Should you list all of my old social media platforms that are not available anymore on DS-160 Form and DS-260 Form ?
Yes, if were on any of the listed social media platforms in the above list given on the DS-160 form, then you need to add those social media account details like User Names, or handles tied to the same account.
I used different handles and user names in my Social Media accounts in the past and do not remember the old ones, which ones should I list in DS 160 form?
As some of the Social Media platforms allows you to change username or handles, it would be hard to keep track of entire history. What matters is the current Social Media Username or Handle you use in that platform, which can be used to track your profile and verified as needed for security. So, list the current username and handle. Please make sure, you do not change the username or handle that you listed in DS-160 until your visa interview is over and you have your US Visa approved.
What Social Media Accounts you do not need to share on DS-160 or DS-260 form ?
You do not need to share any of the accounts related to the business or shared accounts by users that are used in organization or a business. Basically, any account that you use for business e.g. you are Marketer and post on Social media on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. using your company account name, that details you do not have to share as that is for organization.
Can I answer NONE, even if I am on Social Media Platforms, but do NOT want to share my info with US Dept of State ?
No, you should NOT answer NONE, if you were or currently are on any of the social media platforms. If you do so, you are lying and it is considered fraud and you can be penalized for it. In fact, at the end of submission of the DS-160 or DS-260 form, you are signing the form by saying that you are stating all the facts under penalty of perjury, so if you do not state all facts, it can be punishable offence.
Can I delete my Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts and answer NONE, if I do not want to share my Social Media info on DS-160 and DS-260 form ?
Well, even though, you delete them today, the requirement from US state department is to disclose all social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. that you held in the last 5 years…So, technically does not make you select NONE, you still need to disclose it. If you just delete and fail to disclose it, then you are considered lying on your form and punishable as you are signing the form by saying that you are stating all the facts under penalty of perjury
Can I delete my social media posts on Facebook, Twitter, other social media platforms as I feel some may not be appropriate, now that I am sharing info on DS-160 form ?
Well, technically you can do that…there is no law or guidance that tells you not to delete. It is your account and your discretion…But, you need to be aware that there are so many places, where caches are stored of past and I am sure US Govt may have got a copy of it…
I have already filled out DS-160 form without Social Media questions and have interview scheduled, do I need to refill a New DS-160 or DS-260 form as we have these new questions ?
No need to fill a new DS-160 form, if you have already filled it out and submitted it. This is applicable only to new US visa applicants using the updated DS-160 or DS-260 form.
What do you think of the new Social Media Questions on the DS-160 and DS-260 form ?