In 2009, the Department of State introduced a new Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, the DS-160, for foreign nationals wishing to come to the United States on a nonimmigrant visa. The new application replaces several NIV forms (DS-156, 157, 158, 156K, 3032, and parts of the E visa application) and is being phased in throughout the early part of 2010 at Embassy and Consular posts across the globe.
We have had the opportunity to assist many individuals complete the new DS-160 as part of the consular application process and have found the following to be helpful tips when completing the application:
- Be sure to check the website of the Embassy or Consulate where you will apply for your visa to ensure whether they are using the new DS-160 or prior forms.
- Make sure you set aside time to complete the application. For security reasons, the form will “time out” after 20 minutes of inactivity. When this happens, all information that has been entered can be lost. In order to prevent this data loss, remember to save at frequent intervals.
- Clicking the “Save” button at the bottom of the page will temporarily save your application. If you need to leave your computer for any length of time, permanently save the form to your hard drive by clicking “Save Application” and browse to find a secure location on your computer to download the application. When you return, you will be able to upload the file and continue completing the form with your information intact.
- Remember to only use the navigation buttons at the bottom of the page to move through the form. Using your browser’s “Back” and “Forward” arrows may result in a loss of information or changes.
- When you have completed the application, save the form to your hard drive, flash drive, or CD. This way, if the Embassy rejects your application as incomplete you can easily access your application, correct the errors and resubmit. Also, if you are a frequent NIV applicant, this will save your information for the next time you apply for a visa.
- The new form allows you to upload a digital or scanned photo with your application. Be sure to follow all requirements and guidelines for visa photographs to ensure its acceptance.
- Once you have successfully submitted your application, you will need to print off the confirmation page to submit to the post. This page is necessary to retrieve your application data and will be needed during all phases of the visa process.