Using Social Media During U.S. Visa Application Process
Concerns About Using Social Media During U.S. Visa Application Process
Government Use of Social Media for Visa Vetting
Why should you be concerned about using social media while you are in the process of applying for a K-1 Fiance Visa or a IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa? USCIS or an embassy consular will never look at my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, right? Wrong!
The U.S government using social media in immigration vetting is not a new thing. In fact, the U.S. government has been using social media in vetting since 2014 according to an article by Ruetgers in December 2015, “Homeland Security chief says social media used in immigration vetting”.
In fact, US Embassy Manila is now using additional vetting including social media for US visa applicants from Mindanao. This is in direct response to the March 6, 2017 presidential memorandum on additional vetting for visa applicants. See our blog post, “Mindanao Visa Applicants Face Additional Administrative Processing“.
Therefore, there is no surprise if USCIS looks at your social media during their I-129F or I-130 review. In addition, there is no surprise if the embassy conducting your interview looks at your social media. Moreover, the consular officer conducting your interview could even have your Facebook page or other social media open while he or she conducts your interview.
Now, the new Trump administration has approved a new questionnaire for vetting visa applicants. On March 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump issued a memorandum to all US embassies and consulates calling for “heightened screening and vetting” for applications for visas. This new tougher visa vetting which includes more social media checks has been reported by Ruetgers on June 1, 2017, “Trump administration approves tougher visa vetting, including social media checks“, and many other news agencies lately.
The Ruetgers article states, “Under the new procedures, consular officials can request all prior passport numbers, five years’ worth of social media handles, email addresses and phone numbers and 15 years of biographical information including addresses, employment and travel history.” According to the Ruetgers article, approval of this was on May 23, 2017 by the Office of Management and Budget.
What Should I Do
Don’t let this all scare you too much. Just let it make you aware.
You do not have to delete and close all of your social media. In fact, using social media properly actually helps your K-1 Fiance Visa or IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa application case.
For example, using social media properly for a K-1 Fiance Visa applicant provides additional information that you have met the necessary in real meeting at least one time within two years. In addition, the proper use of social media can provide proof that your relationship is ongoing and genuine.
Moreover, using social media properly for an IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa applicant provides additional information of a bona fide marriage. In addition, the proper use of social media can provide proof that your marriage is ongoing and genuine.
Follow our Do’s and Don’ts tips below for using social media properly when applying for a K-1 Fiance Visa or a IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa.
Do’s for Using Social Media During U.S. Visa Application Process
The following are our recommended tips for using social media properly during your U.S. K-1 Fiance Visa or a IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa application process:
- Make your relationship known on social media. If you are engaged, list your status as engaged and clearly identify your fiance. Also, if you are married, clearly list your status as married and clearly identify your spouse.
- If you are engaged, call your fiance or fiancee your fiance or fiancee, not your boyfriend, girl friend, friend, wife or husband.
- If you are married, call your spouse your spouse, husband, wife or partner. Never call your spouse your girlfriend, boyfriend, or fiance.
- Definitely show photos of you together.
- For a K-1 Fiance Visa application, this provides additional information that you have met the necessary in real meeting at least one time within two years.
- For IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa applicants, show your wedding photos. This provides additional information of a bona fide marriage.
- Show photos of you and your fiance or spouse together with other people, especially family. This shows that the relationship is known to other people.
- Post photos of you and your fiance or spouse doing fun things like going to the beach, a picnic, restaurant, ect.. This proves that your relationship is genuine.
- Include photos together over a long period of time.
- Show your ongoing communication on social media with your fiance or spouse. Comment and rely to their posts. This proves that your relationship is genuine, true and ongoing.
Terrorism, Anti-American or Illegal Activities
- Have friends that you know won’t hurt your case. Be careful who you are friends with on social media. Don’t be friends with all sorts of people from different countries that you do not know. What if any of these people are involved in Terrorist activities? It could be your relationship to them in question.
- Join only groups that are beneficial to you. The groups that you join can affect you. Don’t join any groups related to terrorism or hatred to America. Also, belonging to dating groups still while you are in a relationship may bring your relationship into question.
- Don’t discuss or show any pictures related to anti-Americanism.
- Only have one profile per social media. How many profiles do you have? Why have more than one in the same social media? If you do, this may be questioned.
- Just be yourself on social media. Don’t have any fake profiles. Do you have a fake name? why? The government may also question why.
Don’ts for Using Social Media During U.S. Visa Application Process
The following are what we recommend that you DO NOT do when using social media during your U.S. K-1 Fiance Visa or a IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa application process:
- Hiding your relationship from social media is not good. This is especially not good if you post about everything else happening in your life. Officials may question why you are hiding your relationship.
- Do not hide your relationship because you have not told other family yet. In fact, this is a big red flag.
- Listing your status as married if you are only engaged and doing a K-1 Fiance Visa Application is a big no no. Officials may question whether you are filing for the proper visa application (fiance visa vs. spouse visa).
- Do not list your status as single, divorced, it’s complicated or anything else other than the true relationship status. This will cause red flags.
Terrorism or Illegal Activities
- Most definitely, do not joke around about family violence when using social media. The U.S. government takes family violence seriously to protect newly arrived immigrants.
- Moreover, do not joke around about using illegal drugs. The U.S. government takes using or selling illegal drugs seriously.
- Also, do not joke around about terrorism or other acts of violence.
- Don’t have hundreds of friends that you do not know. This is especially true if these social media friends are from all over the world in places that you have never been. What if any of these people are have history of terrorist activities? Now, the government questions your relationship to them.
- Refrain from joining groups that hurt your visa case. These groups can severely affect your case. Don’t join any groups related to terrorism or hatred to America. Also, belonging to dating groups still while you are in a relationship may bring your relationship into question.
- Don’t have more than one profile per social media. How many profiles do you have? Why have more than one in the same social media? If you do, the government has the right to question it.
- Don’t have any fake profiles. Do you have a fake name? why? The government may also question why.
Final Thoughts on Using Social Media During U.S. Visa Application Process
Yes, the U.S. government is using social media more in vetting visa applicants. However, do not let that scare you from using social media while applying for a U.S. K-1 Fiance Visa or a IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa. In fact, as we state above, using social media properly also actually helps your K-1 Fiance Visa or IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa application case.
See our site on U.S. Relationship Visas and then click the drop down for a K-1 Fiance Visa or IR-1 CR-1 Spouse Visa. Go to our home page and click Categories Page to see many other blog articles on long distance relationships, navigating the U.S, Visa system, adjusting to new life in the USA, travel and shopping recommendations.