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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawVisa NewsCould Social Media Info be Used in a US Marriage Visa Application?

Could Social Media Info be Used in a US Marriage Visa Application?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title to this video suggests we are discussing social media in the context of us marriage visas. 

I do have folks that ask me from time to time, "Is social media a component of the visa interview and adjudication process?" And this is occurring primarily abroad at a US Embassy or Consulate where the visa application is being processed, and the answer to that question if you will, the long and short of it is, "yes I think social media can be used in adjudicating a given case and I think moving forward the likelihood of it being used is going to increase, for lack of a better term, exponentially”.

For one, as we have explained and another video on this channel, there is a proposal to require individual applicants to provide their social media information as part of the adjudication process for a visa to the United States; at present that is only being required in a limited context. I think as technology advances and as time goes on, we are going to see that information being required in a broader and broader sense and eventually I think in every instance, it is simply just going to be required. As of the time of this video, although not necessarily required, I have seen Consular Officers go out of their way to ascertain the genuineness for example of a given marriage or given proposed marriage, or relationship, especially associated with family based visas and where they found information that has contradicted what appeared to be a genuine relationship, they have made citings that they have felt that there was a sham relationship in play and in those circumstances refuting that factual finding is especially difficult, pursuant to doctrines such as the doctrine of Consular absolutism or Consular non-reviewability pursuant to which basically factual findings by Consular Officers cannot effectively be refuted; they are a factual finding that is not reviewable. Why do I bring this up in the context of a marriage? Well let's say, hypothetically, you have been married to your spouse for a significant period of time but let's say somehow a Consular Officer has gained access to that foreign spouse's Facebook page for example, and there are photographs of romantic involvement with another individual. This could clearly, again this is wholly hypothetical, but this could clearly be used as grounds for finding that perhaps there might be issues with respect to the genuineness of the underlying relationship.

As we move forward, and as we see social media accounts probably and I think it is likely going to happen, as we see social media accounts information being required in visa adjudications, I think there is a strong possibility that the usage of social media in ascertaining the genuineness of a relationship is going to be an issue. As of now, and in most of the cases that we deal with, voluntary remittance of social media documentation is oftentimes part and parcel of the adjudication process in order to show the bona fides of the marriage itself; things like messenger applications as well as, I have even used Facebook status change to married or Facebook status changes to engaged as just one more piece of evidence associated with the underlying genuineness of the relationship in play, the platform for which is being used for the visa application.