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Visa applicants required to provide social media ‘handles’

By September 29, 2023October 14th, 2023No Comments

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging a State Department policy that requires visa applicants to divulge their social media handles. Originally instituted in 2018 during the Trump administration via Executive Order, the questions were added to the visa application in May 2019. The policy survived a review ordered by President Biden to determine if the collection of social media handles “meaningfully improved screening and vetting.”

With the lawsuit behind them, the State Department can not only continue to require all visa applications to disclose their social media handles on 20 different platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, but it may expand the list to include TikTok and others.  For platforms not included on the drop-down list, visa applicants are asked if they’ve used “additional social media platforms in the past five years.” Travelers should be thorough in responding to this question. Withholding of information can have serious consequences.