The DS-160 is known as the “Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form”. All visa applicants must complete and submit a DS-160 form for visa consideration. If the main visa holder has dependents that are traveling with them, separate DS-16 form(s) are required for each applicant, regardless of age. The main visa applicant (F-1, J-1, etc.) can either fill out a new DS-160 form for each dependent or fill out an initial DS-160 form and follow the instructions on the “thank you” page at the end of the form for creating a family or group application. Choosing the latter option will populate certain information from the initial application. Then, the applicant will proceed with the form as normal.
This electronic form allows Consular Officers to use the information on the form for visa application processing, personal interviews, and ultimately for determining the applicant’s approval or denial of their visa application.
Upon completing the DS-160 form, the applicant must have a passport, travel itinerary (only if travel arrangements have been made), dates of their last five visits or trips to the United States and potentially information about trips to other countries in the past 5 years, résumé or curriculum vitae, SEVIS ID (for F, J, and M visa holders), I-129 form for petition-based temporary workers (H-1B, H-2, H-3, CW1, L, O, P, R, E2C), and other information (depending on the intended purpose of travel).
It is important to note that when an applicant is completing the DS-160 form, they must take great care in answering all questions completely and accurately. If not, the applicant may have to redo their application, reschedule the visa interview, which will inevitably delay the visa process. In addition, there are multiple steps in the visa application process and submitting the DS-160 form is only the first. After submitting in the required documentation along with the application, the visa applicant must contact the embassy or consulate to schedule an interview with the consular officer.
In addition, the application must be completed in English, except for an applicant’s name in their native language. If this condition is not met, applications will be denied, and you may be required to submit a new application. Though they are required to respond to the questions in English, translations of questions are available in many languages from the drop-down menu in the right upper corner of the application to help assist the applicant in completing the form.
To start a new DS-160 form, please visit https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/
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