In October of 2017 the Department of Homeland Security began collecting social media data from all immigrants entering the United States. According to the New York Times article titled: “U.S. to Collect Social Media Data on all Immigrants Entering Country“, green card holders and naturalized citizens would also have their information collected. The data collected would become part of the individual’s immigration file. “It was unclear whether the monitoring would take place only in the application process or could continue afterward.”
According to the article, “the department published the new requirement in the Federal Register last week, saying it would collect “social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information and search results,” which would be included in an applicant’s immigration file. It said the data would come from “publicly available information obtained from the internet, public records, public institutions, interviewees, commercial data providers.”
So if you visiting the U.S., or are coming on an immigrant visa, have a green card or even if you are a Naturalized U.S. Citizen the Department of Homeland Security can and will look at your social media accounts.
Will USCIS also check my social media if I am applying for a fiance visa or permanent residency (green card) based on marriage to a U.S. Citizen? You should definitely expect them to check your social media accounts (your privacy settings likely do not matter). As a result you should post things with the USCIS in mind. Ask yourself, would this post help or hurt my immigration case? Also, are my postings consistent with how I would want my immigration case to be viewed? For example, if you are married but your status on Facebook states that you are single, or ,that your relationship status is complicated, you will likely have a problem with USCIS.
Finally, it is not generally a good idea to post anything that could possibly offend an Immigration Officer on your social media accounts.
Your social media should reflect a life that shows you love your spouse or fiancee and that this person is a big part of your life. You never know who could be watching.
Lawrence Gruner is a Sacramento Immigration Lawyer with over 20 years of experience handling marriage green card, fiance visa, U.S. Citizenship and other Immigration cases. His office handles cases in California, the United States, and the World. He would be happy to talk to you, free of charge, about your immigration case. He may be reached at 888-801-6558 or 916-760-7270