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Tips for the DS – 160

Tips for the DS – 160

The DS-160 Application form is the online application form for applying for a nonimmigrant visa to the U.S.  This form is available in English with Spanish translation. The Form DS-160 is submitted electronically to the U.S. Embassy. During the interview, the Consular Officer will access this form to help determine an applicant’s eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa.
Note: All nonimmigrant visa applicants must submit this form, except K visa applicants who submit the DS-156 form.

For detailed help on filling out the DS-160 form, please review this presentation  (in Spanish). Please be aware of the following when preparing your visa application:

  • Passport – We are unable to accept damaged passports, including but not limited to, passports damaged by water, unofficial markings, missing visa pages, photograph not correctly attached, or pages with holes or tears.
  • Photograph – At the end of completing the DS-160 form, you will need to upload a photograph.  If you are having trouble uploading the photograph, you can press “Continue Without A Photo” on the form and print out your confirmation page with barcode without it. You do need to bring the photograph to the interview as one of the Required Documents.

The photograph must meet the specifications below:

  1. Size of photo must be 5 cm x 5 cm (2 in x 2 in)
  2. In color
  3. Recent (taken no more than 6 months ago) to reflect your current appearance
  4. White or off-white background
  5. Both ears must be visible
  6. No hats or head covering that covers the hair or hairline (unless worn daily for a religious purpose)
  7. If you normally wear glasses (without tinted lenses), a hearing device or similar articles, they may be worn in the photo
  8. No photo-editing, alterations, touch-ups or pasted-on clothing
  • Frequently Asked Questions – Below you can find the most common questions regarding the DS-160. Even more information is available on the State Department’s Travel Website (in English).

DS-160 FAQ's

  • Where can I find the DS-160?

    Where can I find the DS-160?

  • Are all fields on the DS-160 mandatory?

    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 “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 step away in the middle of data entry?

    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 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 center 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?

    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.  If the confirmation page includes a photo image, then the photo upload function has succeeded. Please note that the U.S. Embassy and Consulates requires all the non-immigrant visa applicant to submit one separate print photograph along with the online DS-160 confirmation page regardless whether the photo has been successfully uploaded or not. Please attach the print photo to your confirmation page using a paper clip. DO NOT staple the photo to the confirmation page.
  • Why did the edits I made from the review page “edit” link not save?

    Why did the edits I made from the review page “edit” link not save?

    • In order for the 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?

    Should I save my application before I submit it?

    • Yes. You should, if you can, save your application locally (to either your 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 Consulate or Embassy for being incomplete, i.e., your application contains nonresponsive answers or you failed to answer a critical question, you will be able to access your saved application data, correct the nonresponsive 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 do I just bring the confirmation page?

    Do I bring my entire application with me to the interview, or do I just bring the confirmation page?

    • You should not bring your entire application. 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 a part of a group. Can I create a family or group application?

    I am travelling with my family or as a 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 travelling 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?

    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 difference surname or nationally, for example the applicant can alter the date on the application before submitting.
  • I made a mistake filling out the DS-160 form, what should I do?

    I made a mistake filling out the DS-160 form, what should I do?

    • It depends on the mistake you made:

      1. For men over 16 years old, if you made a mistake answering the question about GENDER OR PURPOSE OF TRAVEL, you need to fill out a new DS 160 form and print the new confirmation page.

      2. For all applicants: if you made a mistake answering the question about biographical data such as: passport number, names, addresses, or phone numbers, you can correct the information yourself in the form. If you cannot make the correction in the form, on the day of the interview you should inform the person receiving your documents about the mistake. Please do not miss your appointment due to an error found in your application.

      3. For all applicants: if you made a mistake answering the questions about your family, education, travel, or any security-related question, you must complete a new DS-160 form and print a new confirmation page.