Rumor or Reality #6: Social media communication doesn’t count as contact when listing foreign contacts on my SF-86

Rumor. The SF-86 asks about “close or continuing contact” with certain foreign nationals within the last seven years—this includes social media contact. An applicant with a foreign contact that meets the other criteria in Section 19 of the SF-86 (one with whom the applicant, or the applicant’s spouse, or legally recognized civil union/domestic partner, or cohabitant are bound by affection, influence, common interests, and/or obligation) and only keeps in touch with the contact via social media should still report the contact on the SF-86.

While social media contacts can be overwhelming, keep in mind that it is a two-part question: just because you follow David Beckham on Instagram and he once replied to your comment doesn’t mean he should make an appearance on your SF-86. Of course, real life contacts can be more difficult to define. Honest mistakes are usually not problematic for an applicant, but it is important to give this question appropriate thought. Even in the case of an honest mistake, the applicant has to convince the adjudicator that the omission was in fact a mistake. This can be easier said than done.