Form DS-160 is an online nonimmigrant visa application form that needs to be filled out when applying for a nonimmigrant visa. You can find the DS-160 application here.
How to File Form DS-160
You will need the following before you start filling DS-160 form for a U.S. visitor visa:
- Digital photograph of applicant according to requirements. Note: Some embassies or consulates no longer require you to upload a digital photograph while filling out the DS-160 form. In such cases, your photograph will taken at the OFC (offsite facilitation center) or ASC (Application Service Center) along with your fingerprints at a Visa Application Center.
- Identify the US consulate in which you will be appearing for interview. Here’s a list of US Consulates in India.
- Since the application must be completed online, you must have a reliable internet connection.
- Passport details (name as is on passport, date of birth, issue date, expiration date, passport number, etc.) of each applicant.
- Current travel itinerary
- Travel itinerary from the past five years, both to the US and any international travel
- Information of the family of the applicant (details of the parents of each applicant, occupations, mailing addresses, work addresses, income, etc).
- Address of where you will stay in the 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
- 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 print out the confirmation page after submitting.
When filling out your DS-160, remember the following:
- Provide accurate information. All questions must be answered in English.
- Special characters like A$, B1/4 are not recognized by the system.
- For fields not applicable, select “does not apply”.
- 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.
- Please note, if there is no activity for 20 minutes or more while completing this online application, your session will expire and all entered data will be lost.
- Review the information you entered for accuracy.
- Print the confirmation page.
- Bring the confirmation page with you for your visa interview.
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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Form DS-160
How long does it take to complete the application?
It can take 15-30 minutes if the applications is completed in one sitting.
Are all fields on the DS-160 mandatory?
All fields on the DS-160 are mandatory. If that field does not apply to you, you may opt for ‘Does Not Apply’. The application will not allow you to submit a form with any fields left blank. If done so, an error message will be displayed and you will be directed to complete the field before continuing with the application. If you do not answer questions that apply, your form will 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 left idle and you will lose all data entered thus far. The “time out” is designed to protect your privacy. 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 center of the application. Clicking “save” will temporarily save your application. In order to finally 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 photograph requirements for visitor visa.
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?
Just your confirmation page 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. Here’s a sample of the confirmation page for your reference.
I am traveling 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?
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. This has replaced forms: DS-156, DS-157, DS-158, and DS-3032, which are no longer necessary.
NoteThe 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, which is explained below. Please confirm with your local Embassy or Consulate website accordingly.
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. These forms can be filled electronically. A confirmation page with a ten digit barcode at the end of the completed application form should be printed and take with you for the visa interview.