3

I've been filling the DS-160 form to apply for a US tourist visa. I was surprised to find that I needed to provide my social media accounts. The questions I have is would I need to provide for example my Facebook account, even though it's a private account with no public information on it (aside from cover photos)? Given the privacy concerns, how much details is the US government allowed to extract from Facebook for example? In other words would they go as far as requesting a complete view of profiles from Facebook?

I'm not too fussed about providing my LinkedIn/YouTube accounts as they're public in nature, but Facebook account is private and contains family photos that are kept private for obvious reasons.

2
  • Is this a required question or marked as optional? I recall filling in something similar (can't remember if it was the DS-160 or ESTA or something else) and it clearly said Optional, so I didn't include anything
    – Midavalo
    Jul 30, 2023 at 20:49
  • It's not required as I can mark it not applicable, but I wasn't sure if not providing those details when I do use social media would have a negative impact on the visa application
    – Goosfraba
    Jul 30, 2023 at 21:10

1 Answer 1

1

The FAQs on Social Media Collection (linked from the general visa FAQ page) lay out the US State Department's official views on the matter:

A response to the questions related to social media will be required. Visa applicants who have never used social media will not be refused on the basis of failing to provide a social media identifier, and the form does allow the applicant to respond with "None." Applicants should complete the application as fully and honestly as possible to avoid any delays in processing. Failure to provide accurate and truthful responses on a visa application or during a visa interview may result in denial of the visa by a consular officer. In the case of an applicant who has used any of the social media platforms listed on the visa application in the preceding five years, the associated social media identifier would be required on the visa application form.

So, officially, if you have an account, including a private one, on any of the listed services, omitting it would be failure to provide a truthful answer to the question and thus a potential reason for a visa denial. I do not know the odds of detection in this instance.

Note that you are not required to provide passwords or other means of accessing private profiles, only to list your handles. The Department says:

Consular officers will not request user passwords nor will they have any ability to modify privacy controls applicants may have implemented on these platforms.

You are welcome to find these reassurances unsatisfying, but, unfortunately, unless you have sufficient influence to change US policy on this, your only practical options are to comply with the requirements, to lie on the form and hope you evade detection, or to not apply for a US visa.

3
  • Thanks for the info. The main reassurance I wanted is that my private content on these platforms will not be accessible to the consular officer, or anyone dealing with the application. The guidance you referenced says they can't modify privacy controls, which seems to imply they can't access private content. Although I would say the two things are not the same.
    – Goosfraba
    Jul 30, 2023 at 22:02
  • It's possible that they can ask some providers "has this account ever been banned for terrorism?" (Or other serious offenses) and get a yes/no even though they can't see your private content. Jul 30, 2023 at 22:04
  • That would still be fine and reasonable. What's unclear I suppose is how much they can really ask for.
    – Goosfraba
    Jul 30, 2023 at 22:16

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .