DHS Will Request Social Media Usernames on Immigration Applications

The Department of Homeland Security will be asking for the social media information of applicants petitioning for immigration benefits and foreign travel to the United States. A notice was published in the Federal Register that informed the public the agency would be asking foreign travelers to list their social media accounts and usernames for the past five years. DHS says it will use the information to assess whether an applicant is a “law enforcement or national security risk to the United States."

According to the notice, DHS will request information for the following social media platforms:

  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Linkedin
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • Myspace
  • Ask.fm

The agency will not be asking applicants to provide their passwords and will only review information that is already available to the public.

U.S. visa applicants are already required by the State Department to provide social media information on both immigrant and non-immigrant visa applications due to a 2017 executive order that updated vetting standards and the types of information that can be collected for visa and immigration benefit applications.

The changes are expected to be initiated at the beginning of 2020.

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