INTERNATIONAL ARTISTES wishing to tour the US will now have their social media activity explored prior to them being granted entry.
The State Department has introduced a new compulsory question on the non-immigrant visa application form DS-160, that requires applicants to reveal the social media platforms they have used in the past five years, along with their user names. It also requires them to provide phone numbers and email addresses used during the same time frame.
Andy Corrigan of UK-based entertainment visa specialist Viva La Visa, whose clients include Ed Sheeran and Elton John, says the impact of the new visa application requirement could be significant on touring artistes.
“Just a reference to casual drug-taking is considered an admission of a controlled substance offence, a conviction is not necessary – just admission of the act is sufficient to have your entry to the US denied,” says Corrigan. “The potential damage is quite large, lots of people put things like that on social media in the entertainment industry.”
Corrigan acknowledged trawling every applicant’s social media accounts would be hugely labour-intensive for the US authorities, and it is not yet clear how the new application requirement will be enforced, but he says there is already evidence that the authorities have used information found on social media to deny people entry.
Failure to reveal the details could be construed as a misrepresentation and could lead to serious consequences, according to the State Department.
“It is probably not possible to erase your social media history, the best
policy is to answer the questions truthfully because the consequences of misrepresentation are serious,” says Corrigan.