Last week, the Department of State (“DOS”) introduced new questions to the DS-160 and DS-260 visa application forms. All applicants for US visas are now asked to provide details about their social media accounts, including what accounts they’ve held in the last five years and the name used for each account. In the past, this enhanced screening information was only required for applicants identified for extra scrutiny — primarily people who had traveled to areas with a high degree of terrorist activity.
The expansion of this vetting to all visa applicants means that all travelers to the U.S. should review their social media activity before submitting a visa application. DOS has indicated that the purpose of the additional questions is to assist the Department in confirming the identity and otherwise vetting applicants.
In the employment-based context, inconsistencies in the way that an applicant has described his or her job titles or experience may result in additional scrutiny, even if there is an innocent explanation for the difference. All applicants should make sure that the way they’ve presented themselves online is consistent with the case they have submitted in support of their visa application.