What Is The Form DS-160?
The Form DS-160 is the electronic application for a US nonimmigrant visa. It can be completed entirely online and must be filled out by every applicant wishing to enter America as an immigrant or temporary visitor.
The Form DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application) asks you a series of questions about your personal information, contact details, passport, and travel history. You are also asked to fill out educational and work experience-related fields before the form submission.
The form has many diverse questions for visitors when they register with U.S Customs & Border Protection (CBP). These include inquiries into their educational background or professional jobs so that CBP officers may better understand what kind of visitor someone might be based on such factors during an inspection process at ports of entry across our borders.
Where Do I Get A DS-160 Form?
The first thing you need to do is fill Form DS 160. You can access it at the Consular Electronic Application Center website.
Required Documents to Complete DS-160 Electronic Form
There are some following required documents that need to be submitted during filing Form DS-160:
- Your valid passport
- Travel itinerary
- Dates of every international trip you have made in your last five years, including to the US
- Information on your current and previous education and work history.
You may also need to have some additional documents with you while applying for certain nonimmigrant visas in the United States. These are:
- Students and Exchange Visitors (J, M, and F-1 student visa) – you will need your SEVIS ID and the address of the school/program at which you intend to study. This information should be on your I-20 or DS-2019 form.
- Petition-based Temporary Workers (H-1B visa, H-2 visa, H-3 visa, CW1 visa, L-1 visa, O-1 visa, P-1 visa, R, E2C) – You will need a copy of your Form I-129.
- Other Temporary Workers – you will need to have ready information on your future employer, including their address.
Guidelines for Completing the Form DS-160
The DS-160 form must be completed and submitted electronically. There isn’t a paper version available, so you must fill out the online version.
If you’re completing multiple DS-160s for your family, you can create a family application that will automatically fill in some details for each family member. To do this, first, complete one DS-160. On the “Thank You” page that follows the confirmation page, you’ll see an option to create a family application. Remember, while this will automatically complete some parts of the DS-160 for each family member, everyone still needs their own individual DS-160.
To fill out Form DS-160, you will begin by choosing the location where you’re applying for your visa. Don’t worry too much about this: if you have to travel unexpectedly while your application is pending, you’ll be able to schedule your interview at whatever embassy or consulate is most convenient, even if it’s in a location other than the one you first chose.
On the next page, you will see your Application ID. You will also be asked to provide the answer to a security question. Write these down and keep them safe: together, they will let you access your application again later.
You can also find your Application ID on the top right corner of each page of the DS-160. If you forget your Application ID, you can retrieve it online using your security question.
Remember that your saved Form DS-160 will only remain available for 30 days. If you need more time, you can download your DS-160 to your computer and upload it again later.
Now, let’s go through Form DS-160 section by section.
In the first part of Form DS-160, you will provide personal information such as your name, date of birth, and marital status.
You will also be asked for your nationality, your passport or national identification number(s), and your U.S. social security number or taxpayer ID number, if you have them.
In this section, you will explain your travel plans, including the purpose of your trip to the United States, your dates of arrival and departure, and the U.S. address at which you will stay. If you don’t have specific plans, you can provide estimated dates.
Here, you can fill in the details of anyone traveling with you. This might include family, friends, or members of an organized tour group. You don’t need to include work colleagues traveling with you. Either way, remember that everyone who travels still needs their own Form DS-160.
Previous U.S. Travel
Next, you will be asked if you have ever visited the United States before. If you have, you’ll need to provide dates and details.
You’ll also need to indicate if you’ve ever been denied a U.S. visa, or if you’ve ever filed an immigrant petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Address and Phone Number
This section is straightforward: simply enter your current address, phone number, and email address. You can enter an alternate mailing address if you wish.
You will also be asked to list all the social media accounts you’ve used over the past 5 years. You don’t need to provide passwords, but you should list all the “handles” or user IDs you’ve used on sites like Twitter and Facebook. This is a recent addition to the DS-160, with USCIS officials now required to check your social media activity while reviewing your application.
On this page, you will be asked for your passport information. You may be asked for a “Passport Book Number,” sometimes also called an “inventory control number.” Not all passports have this number, so if your country doesn’t use them just check “Does Not Apply.”
You will also be asked if you have ever had a passport lost or stolen. If you have, you’ll have to supply further details.
U.S. Point Of Contact
In this section, you’ll list a person in the United States who knows you and can verify your identity. If you don’t yet know anyone in the United States, don’t worry — you can simply submit the name of any business or organization you intend to visit during your trip.
Next, you will provide basic details about your father and mother. You may also be asked to provide details of any family members currently in the United States.
If you are married, you will also be asked for your spouse’s name, date of birth, nationality, and home address.
Work, Education, and Training
In this section, you will fill in the details about your occupation, educational background, and employment history going back 5 years.
You will also be asked for your travel history, and for details about any special skills you possess, or any military groups, charities, or professional organizations of which you have been a member.
Security and Background Information
Here, you will answer “yes” or “no” to 25 questions on security and background issues. Make sure you read these questions carefully and take care when answering, as mistakes here could adversely affect your application.
You will need to upload a photo of yourself that conforms to U.S. Department of State guidelines. Once you’ve uploaded the photo you’ll be able to adjust the size and crop the image to make sure it fits the requirements.
The photo you submit when you file your DS-160 isn’t a substitute for the passport-style photo required for many visa applications. You will still need to bring a printed photograph to your visa interview.
Review, Confirm Location, Sign, and Submit
Almost done! You will now be asked to review the entire form. This is the last opportunity to check whether your answers are accurate. You will then be asked to confirm the location from which you are applying so that your application can be sent to the appropriate U.S. embassy or consulate. Finally, you will be asked to read some terms and conditions, and then submit the form.
After submitting the form, you will click “next” to access your official confirmation page. You must print the confirmation page and present it to consular officials at the time of your interview.
DS-160 Form Visa Fee
Form DS-160 is free to file. However, you will still be required to pay the expenses associated with the specific visa for which you are seeking. The charge for most nonimmigrant visas that do not require a petition, such as a tourist, business, and TN visas, is $160. The fee for petition-based visas is normally $190. The cost of a visa varies according to the type of visa.
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