Nonimmigrant Visa Application DS-160 guidelines and questionnaire

The Form DS-160 is the electronic application form for the US Nonimmigrant Visa. It is a fully online form, which must be completed by every applicant wishing to get a Nonimmigrant Visa for the US. The form contains questions on your personal information, contact details, passport and travel information, previous trips to the United States (if any), family information as well as questions about your education and work experience.

In addition, the US Nonimmigrant Visa application DS 160 form also asks security-related questions on your background and asks you to upload your face image.

Where can we Fill Form DS 160?

You can access the form DS-160 at the Consular Electronic Application Center website or you could use the services of a third-party company such as VisaExpress to assist you with filing this form.

Nonimmigrant Visa DS-160

DS-160 Form Filling Instructions

Completing a DS 160 online application form is not a hard task. You should follow a few simple steps and pay attention to your answers so you fill the DS 160 form online correctly, without making any mistakes.

  1. Go to the Consular Electronic Application Center website for Nonimmigrant Visa
  2. Log in to your account.
  3. Complete the security question.
  4. Start answering the questions.
  5. Upload DS-160 Form Photo.
  6. Submit the Form.
  7. Print DS-160 Barcode Page.

Start answering the questions

After completing the first two pages of the application form, you will then start to answer questions regarding your application. The questions are grouped into four categories:

  • Personal questions.
  • Family information.
  • Work/education/training information.
  • Security-related questions.

Following, find all of the DS 160 application for Nonimmigrant Visa form questions:

Personal questions

  • Name & surname.
  • Full name in native alphabet.
  • Marital Status.
  • Date and place of birth.
  • Country of origin.
  • Do you have any other nationality other than the one indicated?
  • Are you a permanent resident in any other country aside from your country of origin?
  • Home Address.
  • Phone number – work and personal.
  • Email address.
  • Passport information: Number, date of place of issuance, date of expiration.
  • Purpose of the trip to the US (you may have to specify that).
  • Do you have specific travel plans? If yes you will need to give the intended date of arrival, length and address where you will stay, and whether you will be accompanied by someone.
  • Information on previous trips to the US: If you have ever been to the US, ever held a US visa, or were rejected from getting a visa or refused entry to the US.
  • US point of information, if applicable – their relationship to you and home address.

Family information

  • Parents’ given full names.
  • Do you have any relatives in the US?
  • Your spouse’s name, date and place of birth.

Work/education/training information

  • Primary occupation, address, start date, monthly salary in local currency, and briefly describe your duties
  • Were you previously employed?
  • Have you attended any education institutions at a secondary level or above?
  • Which languages do you speak?
  • Have you traveled within the last five years?
  • Have you belonged to, contributed to or worked for any professional, social or charitable organization?
  • Do you have any specialized skills or training, such as firearms, explosives, nuclear, biological or chemical experience?
  • Have you ever served in the military
  • Have you ever served in, been a member of or been involved with a paramilitary unit, vigilante unit, rebel group, guerrilla group or insurgent organization?

Security-related questions

  • Do you have a communicable disease of public health significance? Communicable diseases of public significance include: chancroid, gonorrhea, granuloma inguinale, infectious leprosy, lymphogranuloma venereum, infectious stage syphilis, active tuberculosis, and others diseases as determined by the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Do you have a mental or physical disorder that poses or is likely to pose a threat to the safety or welfare of yourself or others?
  • Are you or have you ever been a drug abuser or addict?
  • Have you ever been arrested or convicted for any offense or crime, even though you are subject to a pardon, amnesty, or other similar action? This includes all arrests or detentions, including those at the border and by Customs and Border Patrol.
  • Have you ever violated, or engaged in a conspiracy to violate, any law relating to controlled substances?
  • Are you coming to the United States to engage in prostitution or unlawful commercialized vice, or have you been engaged in prostitution or procuring prostitutes within the past 10 years?
  • Have you ever been involved in, or do you seek to engage in, money laundering?
  • Have you ever committed or conspired to commit a human trafficking offense in the United States or outside the United States?
  • Have you ever knowingly aided, abetted, assisted, or colluded with an individual who has committed or conspired to commit a severe human trafficking offense in the United States or outside the United States?
  • Are you the spouse, son, or daughter of an individual who has committed or conspired to commit a human trafficking offense in the United States or outside the United States, and have you, within the last five years, knowingly benefited from the trafficking activities?
  • Are you the spouse, son, or daughter of an individual who has been identified by the President of the United States as person who plays a significant role in a severe form of trafficking in persons, and have you, within the last five years, knowingly benefited from the trafficking activities?
  • Are you the spouse, son, or daughter of an individual who has violated any controlled substance trafficking law, and have knowingly benefited from the trafficking activities in the past five years?
  • Do you seek to engage in espionage, sabotage, export control violations, or any other illegal activity while in the United States?
  • Do you seek to engage in terrorist activities while in the United States, or have you ever engaged in terrorist activities?
  • Have you ever, or do you intend, to provide financial assistance or other support to terrorists or terrorist organizations?
  • Are you a member or representative of a terrorist organization?
  • Have you ever ordered, incited, committed, assisted, or otherwise participated in genocide?
  • Have you ever committed, ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in torture?
  • Have you committed, ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in extrajudicial killings, political killings, or other acts of violence?
  • Have you ever engaged in the recruitment or the use of child soldiers?
  • Have you, while serving as a government official, been responsible for or directly carried out, at any time, particularly severe violations of religious freedom?
  • Have you ever been directly involved in the establishment or enforcement of population controls: forcing a woman to undergo an abortion against her free choice or a man or a woman to undergo sterilization against his or her free will?
  • Have you ever been directly involved in the coercive transplantation of human organs or bodily tissue?
  • Have you ever sought to obtain or assist others to obtain a visa, entry into the United States, or any other United States immigration benefit by fraud, willful misrepresentation, or other unlawful means?
  • Have you ever withheld custody of a US. citizen child outside the United States from a person granted legal custody by a US. court?
  • Have you voted in the United States in violation of any law or regulation?
  • Have you ever renounced United States citizenship for the purpose of avoiding taxation?

What documents do You Need to Complete DS 160 Electronic Form?

You will have to look at these documents when filling in the form:

  • 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.

Additionally, when applying for some particular US Nonimmigrant Visa, you may need to keep close to you some additional documents. These are:

  • Students and Exchange Visitors (F, J, and M) – 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, H-2, H-3, CW1, L, O, P, R, E2C) – You will need a copy of your I-129 form.
  • Other Temporary Workers – you will need to have ready information on your future employer, including their address.

What is the DS 160 Form Validity?

The DS 160 form is valid for 30 days from the day you start completing it. Therefore, if you start applying on January 1, the DS 160 form expiration date will be by January 31. Make sure you complete the form on time, or else you will need to start it from the beginning.

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 stop or some interruption in the middle of Form 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.

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.

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. Note: 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.

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