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QQ? Weibo? Youku? US visa applicants told to list social media profiles
Published on: 2019-06-10
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040Chinese visa agents are warning clients planning to visit the United States to be wary about their online presence, with US visa applicants now reportedly required to give information about their social media accounts.

According to US media reports, on online visa application pages, applicants now have to list all social media platforms and usernames that they used within the last five years.

042Options in the drop-down menu include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Chinese social media platforms such as QQ, Douban, Weibo, and Youku.

Applicants also have the option of saying they have no social media accounts.

043However, a US Department of State official warned that lying about social media use would have “serious immigration consequences” for applicants, online US news site Hill.TV reported.

In a notice on its website, Guangzhou-based Ztop Education warned its Chinese clients to avoid posting sensitive terms such as “maternity hotel”, “give birth to babies in the US”, “guns”, “green card”, immigrant”, “buy property in the US”, on their social media platforms.

044Before Friday, only a small number of visa applicants who had been flagged for further review had been required to provide social media information.

Now, the requirement has been extended to almost all applicants for immigrant and non-immigrant visas.

045Washington has introduced new limits on how long some Chinese students can stay in the US, with the State Department telling US embassies and consulates that Chinese postgraduate students studying robotics, aviation and hi-tech manufacturing, could be limited from previously maximum five-year to one-year visas. The changes will take effect on June 11.

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