DS-160 Online Form

Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application

If you wish to apply for a U.S. nonimmigrant visa, you have to apply online using the DS-160 form, regardless of the type of visa that you are applying for.

 

What is the DS-160 form?

Starting on 3/1/2010 all applicants for a U.S. nonimmigrant visa (even toddlers and babies) must fill out this online application without exception. The DS-160 form must be submitted online along with a digital passport photo to the respective U.S. consulate before the personal interview appointment at the U.S. consulate.

Questionnaire

The DS-160 online form consists of numerous questions, where the initial questions request personal and basic information about the person, including birth place, birth date, and home address.  

Depending on the particular visa category, your gender, and your marital status, additional windows will be opened in the DS-160 that will ask you further questions relating to your future stay in the U.S., for example. In addition, you must provide detailed information about your previous travel patterns in the U.S. as well as your current employer or your current activity in your home country.

In addition to answering questions that gauge whether you have firm ties to your home country, another extensive set of questions seeks to ascertain whether there are grounds for exclusion of your entry into the U.S.. This section includes, for example, questions about previous or repeat convictions, notifiable diseases or membership in a terrorist organization. 

Unlike female applicants, male applicants must report all educational institutions that they have attended and trips that they have made in the last five years, and they must also report their military service record.

When filling out the form, it is important to carefully select the correct type of visa and provide accurate information. If you choose the wrong option or report incorrect information, your application may not be processed or in the worst case may be rejected on the day of your interview appointment.

Extension of the DS-160 questionnaire

The US authorities have tightened the rules for applying for US visas. As planned for a long time, the U.S. Department of State now captures more information from nonimmigrant visa applicants using the DS-160 form - which is already very extensive anyway.

As of now, the following new questions emerge, which applicants must answer in the future in the visa application process:

  1. Information on social media platforms used and the corresponding username (alias) of the last 5 years (via drop-down menu, including eg. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). Applicants will have to specify, for example, whether they use a Facebook account and the according profile name. Passwords are not required. Optionally, applicants - if available - can also specify additional social media accounts.
  2. Used telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of the last 5 years 
  3. Detailed query on travel activities of the last 5 years (international) 
  4. Information on possible previous deportations / expulsions from other countries (not only US-specific) 
  5. Query on possible terrorist activities of family members

Particularly disputed are the details of the applicants regarding their social media activities. Previously, only applicants who had traveled to countries controlled by terrorist organizations had to provide information on social media and e-mail accounts.

Unlike the visa application form, the social media details in the ESTA application remain voluntary. Whether this will change in the future is currently unknown.
The new issues have been open for public omments since March 2018 ("60-day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Application for Nonimmigrant Visa"), which is still available in the Federal Register.

It affects an estimated 15 million people, including both non-immigration visa applicants (DS-160) and immigration visas (DS-260). Introducing the new queries, according to the US authorities, is about protecting US citizens, improving verification processes, and supporting legitimate travel to the United States.
In addition, further queries in the scope of e-visa applications are in question. Also, as part of the transmission of the online form DS-160, further information on possible medical examinations and FBI databases might become necessary to give.

Written confirmation

When you successfully submit your DS-160 form online, you will receive a written confirmation message at the e-mail address that you specified. Please print this document out. You must present it as well as other application documents at your interview appointment at the U.S. consulate.

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