DS 160 Form – Everything You Need to Know & Guide to Fill the DS 160 Form

DS 160 Form – Everything You Need to Know & Guide to Fill the DS 160 Form

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HomeUS Visa & ImmigrationDS 160 Form – Everything You Need to Know & Guide to Fill the DS 160 Form
DS 160 Form - Everything You Need to Know & Guide to Fill the DS 160 Form

Form DS-160 is an online non-immigrant visa application form required by most US consulates worldwide, including India. DS-160 must be completed online for any non-immigrant visas like visitor visa (also called tourist visa or B2 visa), business visa (B1 visa), work visa (H1B visa, L1 visa, F1 visa, etc).

Go to the online DS-160 application.

You will need the following before you can start filling the DS-160 form online :

  • Digital picture of applicant in a specific format. If you are unable to upload or provide the correct picture during the online application submission, you can carry a printed picture when go for visa interview at consulate.

Please Note

Some embassies or consulates no longer require you to upload a digital photograph while filling out the DS-160 form. In such cases, the photograph will be taken at the OFC (offsite facilitation center) or ASC (Application Service Center) along with the fingerprint at Visa Application Center.
  • You must know which consulate you will be appearing for interview. For people applying in India, here is the list of US Consulates in India based on your State of Residence in India.
  • Since the application must be completed online, you must have a reliable internet connection.
  • Passport details (Name as on passport, date of birth, issue date, expiration date, passport number, etc) of each applicant.
  • Family information of applicant (Name of parents of each applicant, occupation, mailing address, work address, income, etc).
  • Address where you will stay in USA.
  • Name and address of your relatives in USA, if any.
  • For US residents, your social security number and your US tax ID number.
  • Date of most recent travel to US, if any.

Technical Requirements

  • Your Internet browser must support 128-bit encryption and must have javascript enabled.
  • The minimum version of Internet Explorer (Windows) must be version 5.0 service pack 2 or higher.
  • The minimum version of Netscape must be version 6.2 or higher.
  • It is recommended to have a laser printer connected to system so you can take a printout of the confirmation page. Alternatively, you can take a screenshot (Shift + Prt Sc button) and paste it in a Word file for printing later.

Filling DS-160

  • Provide correct and truthful information. Enter the information requested into the appropriate spaces in each window. Answer all questions. Your answers must be in English and must use English characters, except when you are asked to provide your full name in your native alphabet.
  • Most of the questions asked in the form are self explanatory, and enough explanation is given for self help. Provide the correct information. For fields that are not applicable, select “does not apply”.
  • You can temporarily save your application on the website itself. If you plan to be away from the online application for more than 20 minutes, please save your application permanently to a file on your local computer. In any case, continuously saving your data on your local computer may be a wise thing to do, so you can start from where you left off previously, in case you are not able to complete the application in one sitting.
  • If there is no activity for 20 minutes or more in the process of completing this online application, your session will expire and all entered data will be lost.
  • If you are using a public computer, make sure you delete the file after you are successfully done with your application.
  • Letters and special characters are not recognized by the system.
  • Review the information you entered for accuracy.
  • Print the confirmation page.
  • Bring the confirmation page with you at all steps during the visa application process.

How long does it take to complete the application?

It can take 15-40 minutes if your time to complete the application online.

Are all fields on the DS-160 mandatory?

Most fields on the DS-160 are mandatory. You may leave fields marked “Optional” blank. Some fields may also give you the option to select “Does Not Apply”. If that field does not apply to you, you may mark the box next to “Does Not Apply.” All other fields must be completed. The application will not allow you to submit a form with any mandatory fields left blank. In this instance, an error message will be displayed and you will be required to complete the field before continuing with the application. If you do not answer questions that apply, your form may also be rejected.

What happens if I need to step away in the middle of data entry?

The DS-160 will “time out” approximately 20 minutes after the application has been idle. The “time out” is designed to protect your privacy. If the application times out, all the data that has been entered will be lost. In order to guard against possible “time out” issues, you should save the application at regular intervals while you are completing the application. To save the application, click the “Save” button at the bottom centre of the application. Clicking save will temporarily save your application. In order to permanently save your application, select the “Save Application to File” button. Then, click the “Save” button on the File Download window. Identify a place on your computer to save the application file, browse to that location, and click the “Save” button on the Save As window. The system will download your application to the specified location. Once the download is complete you can click “Close” to return to the application. You can then use the “Import Application Date” option on the “Getting Started” page to upload the data that you have already entered.

How do I get a digital photo that will successfully upload to my application?

Please refer to detailed requirements for photographs.

The confirmation page has an “X” in the box where the photo should be. What does that mean?

That means that the photo upload failed. Therefore, you will need to submit one printed photograph meeting requirements, along with the online DS-160 confirmation page. Please verify with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you are applying for specific instructions on how to attach your photo to your confirmation page. See the print photo format found in the Nonimmigrant Photograph Requirements. If the confirmation page includes a photo image, then the photo upload function has succeeded and no separate print photograph is required.

Why did the edits I made from the review page “edit” link not save?

In order for data changes made from the review page links to save, you must use the buttons at the bottom of each page to navigate, instead of the browser’s back/forward buttons or the buttons along the left of the screen.

Should I save my application before I submit it?

YES! You should, if you can, save your application locally (to either your computer hard drive or a CD) before you submit your application. Saving your application locally is beneficial in two ways. First, if your application is rejected by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for being incomplete, i.e., your application contains non-responsive answers or you failed to answer a critical question, you will be able access your saved application data, correct the non-responsive or incomplete answers and submit the corrected application without having to complete an entirely new application. Second, if you are a frequent visa applicant, you can update your saved application the next time you wish to apply for a visa and submit the updated application. This will save you time by not having to re-enter information that has not changed since the last time you applied.

Do I bring my entire application with me to the interview, or just bring the confirmation page?

You should not bring your entire application because it will not help. Your confirmation page is all that is needed to retrieve your application data. You must bring the confirmation page with you during all phases of the application process. Without the confirmation page, it may not be possible to access your application and process your visa case.

I am travelling with my family or as part of a group. Can I create a family or group application?

Yes. On the “Thank You” page you will see an option to create a family or group application. When you select this option, certain information from your application, such as destination, will automatically be imported to and displayed on a new application. Please note that if you use this option you will need to create an individual application for each of your family members traveling with you or for each individual within the group.

If I use the option on the “Thank You” page to create a family or group application, can I modify the data automatically populated by the system?

Yes. If one of the dependents has a different surname or nationality, for example, the applicant can alter that data on the application before submitting.

When I apply for a nonimmigrant visa using the online DS-160, are additional forms required?

No, with one exception. When applying at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate that is using the new DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, you will use only one form. For Embassies and Consulates that have converted to this new process, the DS-160 has replaced all of the following forms: DS-156, DS-157, DS-158, and DS-3032, which are no longer necessary.


The exceptions are Fiancee Visas (K-1/2) which still require use of the forms DS-156 and DS-156K, and the Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor visa application.

It is important to check the Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply for your nonimmigrant visa for information on the application process in place. Embassies and consulates worldwide will transition one-by-one to the DS-160. Therefore, those embassies which have not yet converted to the new DS-160 online form continue to require all application forms, as necessary.

I am applying for a Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor, E Visa. Do I need to fill out DS-160 and DS-156E?

It depends. If you are an E Visa, Principal Investor (E-2) applicant, all you need to complete is the DS-160. If you are a Treaty Trader (E-1) or an Executive/Manager/Essential Employee you will need to complete the DS-160 and you or your employer will need to complete the paper DS-156E. (Some time in 2011, a new form, the DS-161, E Visa Business Information form, will be released. This form will allow you or your employer to complete an online form and submit the form electronically to the Department. Until that time all treaty traders, executives, managers, and essential employees of an E visa business will be required to complete and submit the paper DS-156E.)

After successfully completing the application, you will receive a confirmation with a 10-digit barcode. Take a printout of this page. This will be needed for setting up your visa interview appointment.

See a sample DS-160 application.

See a sample DS-160 confirmation page.

Your application confirmation page should be printed using a laser printer. Ink-jet or dot-matrix printers do not print with sufficient resolution for the barcode to work.


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