How to Fill the ds 160 visa form

DS 160 visa form

How to Fill the DS 160 visa form

The DS 160 form which is also known as Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application is used by the United States temporary visa applicants to request a visa at an embassy or consulate. It is an online form which must be submitted electronically to the U.S. Department of State website. Immigration officials use the information provided in the DS 160 USA visa form along with a personal interview to process the visa application and determine the applicant’s eligibility for a visa. Each U.S. visa applicant, including children, must complete their own DS 160 form.

Are you about to apply for a U.S. nonimmigrant visa and wondering how to go complete the online application successfully? This article provides you with an easy to understand guide on how to fill the DS 160 form appropriately.

Who Needs to Fill the DS 160 visa form?

Before delving into the practical details on how to fill the DS 160 form, it is important to know the immigration visa applications that require this particular form. The United States immigration program is in two broad categories. One is for a temporary assignment or visit from a foreign country to the United States, while the other is for permanent migration. Almost all temporary visitors to the United States will need to complete the form.

Therefore, you will need to fill the DS 160 form if you are applying for a United States student visa, business or visitor visa, tourist visa, temporary work visa, and fiancée K-1 visa. This category of immigration program is also known as a nonimmigrant visa application. 

DS 160 visa form: How to Fill the form

Just like every U.S. immigration forms, the DS 160 visa form requires applicants’ information and certain supporting documents to substantiate their claims. So, before starting out, you will need to make those required documents available.

DS 160 visa Form Documents

Supporting documents for DS 160 form may vary based on your purpose of travelling to the United States and the country-specific requirements at the embassy or consulate where your visa will be processed. You will need to check the embassy website to be sure of the exact items required from you. However, in most cases, every immigration applicant filling the DS 160 visa form will need to have the following:

  • Passport: The passport must have a validity date at least 6 months beyond your intended period of stay in the US
  • Digital Photograph: The photograph must meet these requirements
  • A government-issued ID number issued by the government in your home country
  • Taxpayer ID or Social Security Number (if any)
  • Biographic information about your travel companions (if any)
  • Functional telephone number and email address
  • Travel itinerary (if you have already made your travel arrangements)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Approved DS 2019 or I-20 which with your Student and Exchange Visitor (SEVIS) ID (if you are applying for a student or exchange visitor visa). You will also need to provide the address of the school or program where you intend to study.
  • Approved I-129 petition (if you are a temporary-based work visa applicant)

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Once you have all these items ready, you can then head to this Consular Electronic Application Center website to access and complete your DS 160 form. If you encounter problems accessing the form, you can change your browser. As recommended by the DOS, you should try Firefox or Internet Explorer browsers.

Getting Started with Your DS 160 Visa Form

Now that you have access to the DS 160 Visa form, you can then start filling the DS 160 USA visa by following the procedures below:

Select Location

You will begin filling out the DS 160 visa form by choosing the location where you are applying for a visa. This is to allow the system to match you with the appropriate embassy or consulate where your visa interview will take place later. However, if you are to travel unexpectedly while the application is pending, you will still be allowed to schedule your appointment at an embassy or consulate that is most convenient for you based on your location whenever it is time for that.

Provide Security Answer

After selecting your location, you will be taken to the next page where you can see your Application ID. The next thing is to submit the answer to a security question on this page. It is important to write down the answer because you will still need to access the application form later and retrieve your Application ID in case you forget.

It is worth noting that it takes an estimated 75 minutes to complete the DS 160 USA visa form. This is excluding the session timeouts that may occur in the process. So, if you cannot complete it once, you can download it to your computer and then upload it later.

Your DS 160 visa form remains accessible for 30 days, counting from the day you start the application. This will save you from having to start over in case you take a break in the process. By its design, if you don’t save the application form on your computer, your session will expire if you stop working on it for more than 20 minutes.

Enter the Required Information

The DS 160 visa form application has 12 parts and most of the questions are mandatory. You will start by providing your personal information, followed by information on your travel itineraries, travel companions, and previous U.S. travels (if any). The next parts will require your address and phone number, passport information, point of contact in the United States, and information about your relatives. The last four sections involve your profession, education and training, security and background information, uploading of your photo, and lastly the review, signing and submission of the form.

Access and Print the Confirmation Page Your DS 160 visa Form

After filing and submitting the DS 160 visa form, proceed to click “next” to have access to your confirmation page. You will need to print and keep the confirmation page, which contains 10-digit bar code which you will need it to schedule your visa interview. You will also need to present it when you go for your interview at the embassy. Once you have successfully printed the confirmation page, click the “Back” back button on your browser and then send a backup copy of the completed DS 160 visa form to your email.

Based on the location provided in the DS 160 visa form, your application will be sent to the appropriate consulate or embassy where you will be interviewed. You can then head to the US embassy or consulate website for country-specific instructions on how to schedule your visa interview. 

Tips on How to Avoid Difficulties When Filling Your DS 160 visa form

The DS 160 visa form has several sections and requires some details which may have to do with your past, your present, and your future (at least for the duration of your stay in the U.S.). You might have even forgotten some of this seemingly archaic information, but that won’t be an excuse – you’d still have to provide them regardless. Another challenge is the session timeouts you might face when filling the form, which may force you to go back and reenter some information you had earlier entered. You might even get logged out of the system and have to start the whole process all over. All these can be frustrating! You can save yourself the stress by observing the following tips:

  • Get all the supporting documents and information ready.
  • Ensure that you have a stable and reliable internet connection.
  • Read every instruction carefully before providing an answer. If you cannot fully understand any of the questions, ask for help from immigration experts.
  • Always remember your application ID.
  • It is best to fill out the DS 160 visa form when you have enough time to do so. This is because you may experience several section timeouts that will require starting over and over again. If your attention is divided, you might end up making mistakes.
  • Ensure that your photograph meets the specified requirements by the U.S. Department of States.

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This site is not affiliated with the United States Government in any way, we are not a law firm, and are not a substitute for an attorney or law firm. US visas can be obtained through traditional Government channels without our assistance and without paying our service fees by visiting the state department website.