Completing the DS-160
Important Notice: Take care to answer all questions on the DS-160 accurately and completely; otherwise, you may have to correct your application and reschedule your visa interview appointment.
Electronically submitting your DS-160 online application is only the first step in the visa application process. Once you have electronically submitted your DS-160 online application, you must contact the embassy or consulate at which you wish to apply to confirm whether you need to be interviewed by a consular officer, and to schedule an interview. You can find a list of U.S. embassies and consulates here, with links to their websites where you can find information about scheduling a visa interview appointment. If the embassy or consulate at which you apply informs that you must have a visa interview, the visa application process cannot be completed until you appear for an interview with a consular officer.
I am having problems accessing the DS-160
What documents do I need to have with me while I complete the DS-160?
You should have the following documents available while you complete your DS-160:
- Travel itinerary, if you have already made travel arrangements.
- Dates of your last five visits or trips to the United States, if you have previously travelled to the United States. You may also be asked for your international travel history for the past five years.
- Résumé or Curriculum Vitae – You may be required to provide information about your current and previous education and work history.
- Other Information – Some applicants, depending on the intended purpose of travel, will be asked to provide additional information when completing the DS-160.
Some applicants will need to have additional information and documents handy while completing the DS-160:
- Students and Exchange Visitors (F): You will be asked to provide your SEVIS ID, which is printed on your I-20, so you should have this form available when completing your DS-160. You also will be asked to provide the address of the school/program at which you intend to study. This information should also be on your I-20 or DS-2019 form.
Can my answers be in my native language?
No. All answers must be in English, using English characters only, except when you are asked to provide your full name in your native alphabet. Applications submitted in any language other than English will be denied, and you may be required to submit a new application.
While you must answer all questions in English, translations of questions are available in many languages from the drop-down menu in the right upper corner of the application. These translations should assist you in completing the form in English.
Are all questions on the DS-160 mandatory?
Are additional forms required?
What happens to my DS-160 if I select a U.S. Embassy or Consulate where I will be applying for my visa, but end up making an interview appointment instead at another U.S. Embassy or Consulate?
How do I sign the DS-160 form?
You electronically sign your DS-160 by clicking the “Sign Application” button at the end of the form. Failure to sign may result in termination of the application. Your electronic signature certifies that you have read and understood the questions in the application and that your answers are true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief. The submission of an application containing any false or misleading statements may result in the permanent refusal of a visa or denial of entry into the United States. All declarations made in the application are unsworn declarations made under penalty of perjury.
Unless you are exempted from appearing in person, your fingerprints will be electronically scanned on the day of your interview. By providing your fingerprints, you will again certify that that you have answered all questions on the DS-160 truthfully and to the best of your knowledge, and that you will tell the truth during your visa interview. You will be directed to read the following statement prior to having your fingerprints scanned:
“By submitting my fingerprint, I am certifying under penalty of perjury that I have read and understood the questions in my visa application and that all statements that appear in my visa application have been made by me and are true and complete to the best of my knowledge and belief.
Furthermore, I certify under penalty of perjury that I will tell the truth during my interview and that all statements made by me during my interview will be complete to the best of my ability.”
Can a third party complete the form on my behalf? Who is exempt from signing the form?
If an applicant is illiterate or unable to complete the application, the applicant must be assisted by a third party. The third party must be identified on the “Sign and Submit” page of the application. While the third party can assist the applicant in completing the application, he or she must instruct the applicant on how to endorse the application on his or her own behalf by clicking the “Sign Application” button.
If the applicant is under the age of 16 or physically incapable of completing an application, the applicant’s parents or guardian may complete and click the “Sign Application” button on his or her behalf. If the applicant has no parent or legal guardian, then the application may be completed by any person having legal custody of, or a legitimate interest in, the applicant.
The DS-160 contains terms that I am not familiar with. Are these terms explained?
Explanations of the following terms contained in the online DS-160 form are available to you as help topics while you complete the DS-160 and are also provided below.
Enter all surnames (or family names) exactly as they are written in your passport. If only one name is written in your passport, enter that as your “Surname.”
If your passport does not include a first or given name, please enter ‘FNU’ (meaning “first name unknown”) in the space for “Given Names.”
Other names used include your maiden name, religious name, professional name, or any other name by which you are or have been known.
Make sure to enter the other names you have used in full. Thus, if you have only used another surname, enter it along with your usual given name. If you have only used another given name, enter it along with your usual surname.
Telecodes are four-digit code numbers that represent characters in some non-Roman alphabet names.
Date of Birth
Enter as shown in your passport.
Place of Birth
Please choose the name currently used for the place where you were born.
You must provide a primary phone number. The primary phone number should be the phone number at which you are most likely to be reached; this could be a land line or a cellular/mobile number. If you have an additional land line or a cellular/mobile number please list that as your secondary phone number.
Your National ID Number is a unique number that your government may have provided. For example, the U.S. Government gives unique numbers to people looking to work or who pay taxes.
Enter all nationalities you currently hold and all nationalities you have previously held (including United States, if applicable), regardless of whether you have formally and/or legally relinquished the nationality. If the country where you previously held nationality no longer exists, choose the name of the country that is currently used for that location. (For example, if you used to be a citizen of the former East Germany, choose “Germany.”)
Permanent resident means any individual who has been legally granted by a country/region permission to live and work without time limitation in that country/region.
Passport/Travel Document Number
Enter the number of the passport or travel document you will use to travel to the United States. This passport/document must still be valid, and must identify you and your nationality.
Passport Book Number
The Passport Book Number is commonly called the inventory control number. You may or may not have a Passport Book Number on your passport. If you do, the location of the Passport Book Number on your passport may vary depending on the country that issued your passport. Please contact your passport issuing authority if you are unable to determine whether or not your passport contains a Passport Book Number.
In most cases your passport or travel document must be valid for at least six months after your arrival in the United States.
Application Receipt/Petition Number
If you are applying for a petition-based visa, your application receipt/petition number was given to you by the Department of Homeland Security’s U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) after you filed your petition application at a USCIS Service Center. The application receipt/petition number is 13 characters long and the first three characters are letters.
Please enter information regarding your previous two employers only. Applicants may choose to bring along a separate written list of all previous employers to the visa interview for reference.
What if I lose my internet connection, the application “times out,” or I receive an error? Will my application be lost?
I understand that I can upload a photo with my application. How do I get a digital photo that will successfully upload to my application?
The U.S. Embassy or Consulate where I went for my visa interview denied my application because my DS-160 contained errors or was incomplete. What does this mean and what do I need to do next?
DS-160 applications submitted before April 1, 2010 cannot be reopened, and therefore, you must complete and submit a new DS-160.
The Embassy or Consulate should reopen your DS-160 submitted after April 1, 2010 if your application is denied for this reason and ask you to correct it, as explained below:
- DS-160 applications submitted on or after November 1, 2010: Enter your application ID number and answer additional questions as prompted to access and correct your application.
- DS-160 applications submitted on or after April 1, 2010, but before November 1, 2010: Enter your barcode or confirmation number into the Application ID field and answer additional questions as prompted to access and correct your application.
Should I bring my entire application or just the confirmation page with me to the interview?
I submitted my online DS-160 application, but lost my confirmation page. Can I print a new one?
I am traveling with my family or as part of a group. Can I create a family or group application?