Not a U.S. citizen? Take care what you post on social media

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is seeking to collect five years of social media history from applicants for certain immigration benefits, including Visa Waiver Program travelers and, adjustment of status and naturalization applicants, according to a Federal Register notice published today.

DHS plans to add social media questions to the following forms and systems:

  • ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) and Form I-94WNonimmigrant Visa Waiver Arrival/Departure Record for Visa Waiver Program travelers;
  • EVUS (Electronic Visa Update System) for Chinese nationals traveling to the U.S. as business visitors or tourists;
  • Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, used to apply for advance parole and reentry permits, among other benefits;
  • Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status for those applying for a green card through USCIS;
  • Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions on Permanent Residence for certain marriage-based green card beneficiaries;
  • Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status for EB-5 green card beneficiaries; and
  • Form N-400 naturalization applications.

The proposed changes are similar to the State Department’s recent addition of social media questions to the applications for U.S. nonimmigrant and immigrant visas.

Consular officers and USCIS adjudicators may use social media information – including professional profiles and public personal information – during the visa adjudication process.  Profiles, postings, and details that appear inconsistent with the purpose of a visa applicant’s trip, other information in the visa application, or past immigration benefits applications could result in additional security clearances and even visa refusals.

Contact the Visa Office with any questions.