USCIS recently announced new contracts given to companies to search through social media to collect data on Fiance and other visa applicants.
Collection starts October 18. If you have any “suspect” exposure, you have only a few more days to take it down.
One of VisaCoach’s clients has already experienced denial due to his Facebook presence.
This couple’s case was as near perfect as we have seen. They were young and in love. They had known each other for a few years and had met more than once. They were evenly matched by age, values and religion. Their “front loaded” petition was awesome and included many solid evidences of their bona fides.
The American sponsor even accompanied his fiancee to the interview to demonstrate his sincerity and support for the petition.
After a brief interview where the sponsor was not allowed to join in nor asked any questions before, during or after, the consular officer, denied the case.
The couple was devastated and confused. What could have gone wrong?
A consular officer who exhibits professionalism will state the reasons for denial in writing. And provide this to the rejected applicant immediately, often at the close of the interview itself.
You may not agree with the decision, but at least know what it was and then have a starting point for renewed efforts.
The officer refused to provide any verbal or written explanation.
All the couple had was the fiancee’s memory of the interview. I asked her to write a transcript of what happened, to recall exactly what was said and even what the body language was, so that we could study this in an attempt to reconstruct what MIGHT have been in the consular officer’s mind.
What seemed odd and out of context, was the consular officer made some comments about “conservative values” and what is a “woman’s role in society and in the home”.
Those comments seemed rather strange at the time and the foreign born fiancee had no idea where those comments came from.
Eventually it dawned on us. The American sponsor is active on FaceBook. He is outspoken and his views are somewhat “anti feminist”. He had posted on his social media pages, and entered into many online debates, his ideas on conservative values, and HIS ideas about a women’s role in the home and society.
He is not a bad guy. Not a bad husband. He was just expressing his free speech. He just had some strong views that are not popular, that are not considered “politically correct”.
The consular officer did her own internet search, found his activity and “Was NOT amused”, and denied, putting this loving couple’s life’s on hold.
Was it fair or reasonable that they were denied?. No, I don’t think so.
Happy end to the story. We took down his Facebook account, reapplied, and six months later they had their visa and began their married life together in Alaska.
One random consular officer searching on Facebook ended in a denial.
What will happen when ALL Fiance and Spouse applications are accompanied by a detailed dossier of one’s online statements, comments jokes, embarrassments, positive and negative feedback from friends or trolls?
Expect disaster. Expect many more denials, simply due to exercising a US Citizen’s right to free speech.
“Freedom of Speech”, doesn’t mean freedom to get your visa. The prudent path is prior to applying for a Fiance or Spouse visa to make sure there are no skeletons in your online closet. Clean or temporarily remove, or make private, potentially controversial aspects of your online and public presence before proceeding with your visa application.
By Fred Wahl