Form DS-160, U.S. Visa Application Form Tips

Form DS-160, U.S. Visa Application Form Tips

As the DS-160 form is an online and interactive form, the exact questions you will be asked are dynamic and really depend upon your answers to the previous questions.

Therefore, this web page provides some general tips on filling the online DS-160 form.
Even if a personal appearance is not required, the requirement of completing the new electronic form is not waived.

Browser Requirements

  • Your browser must support 128-bit encryption.
  • JavaScript must be enabled.
  • Transport Layer Security (TLS) must be enabled.
  • You are recommended to use either Internet Explorer or a Firefox browser.


  • Enter the information requested into the appropriate spaces in each window. Please answer all questions. Your answers must be in English and must use English characters, except when you are asked to provide your full name in your native alphabet. Letters like ñ, é, ü, ç are not recognized by the system. Please enter names like Muñoz and Sémonin as Munoz and Semonin, unless otherwise asked. 

    Applications submitted in any language other than English may be denied, and you may be required to submit a new application. 

  • If the applicant can not speak English, there is no provision to select a language other than English. This matter is applicable for the interview, not relevant to filling the DS-160 form. You should select the appropriate language while scheduling the appointment, not here. 

  • Review the information you entered for accuracy. 

  • Print the confirmation page. Make sure to print it with a laser printer. 

  • If you are using a public computer such as at a Cyber Cafe, after you successfully submitted the application, you should delete the file you saved. Before deleting, you may consider saving it in a pen drive or CD and/or email it to yourself.

  • Bring the confirmation page with you at all steps during the visa application process. 

  • Mandatory fields:
    Unless otherwise specifically noted, most of the fields are mandatory. You may leave fields marked “Optional” blank. If a particular field(s) does not apply to you, and it allows you to choose the option “Does Not Apply”, you may mark the box next to “Does Not Apply”. 

    If you leave any mandatory field blank, the application will not allow you to go to the next page. You will get an error prompting you to enter that information. 

  • Saving Edits:
    After you enter all the data, you will see the review pages. If you need to change any of the data, it will allow you to edit the data. However, in order to save the edited data, you will need to use the buttons at the bottom of each page to navigate, instead of using the back/forward buttons of the browser. 

  • Time Out:
    In order to protect your privacy, the DS-160 application will “time out” if the application has been idle for approximately 20 minutes. In case of a “time out”, all the data that has been entered will be lost. You should save your application at regular intervals in order not to lose the data. 

  • Saving Application:
    Every time you click the “Next” button, your application will be automatically saved. 

    If you would like to stop your application before submitting it, please note down the Application ID displayed in the top right-hand corner. That Application ID is required to continue your application at a later date for the next 30 days.

    If you would like to complete your application after 30 days, you can permanently save the application to a disk or to your hard drive. Click the “Save” button and follow the instructions to save the application data to a file. 

    “Save” button: This button at the bottom of the last page you have completed will allow you to permanently save your application to your computer. When you click this button, you will see a File Download dialog box, click “Save” button there after selecting the desired directory. The system will download the application to your specified location. Click on the “Close” button to return to the application once the download is complete. It will save the file as .dat extension. This file can not be opened outside of the online DS-160 application.

    “Upload a Previous Application ” button: On the “Getting Started” page, you can click this button to upload the data that you have previously saved. 

    Saving your application is useful in many ways:
    • You can avoid the “time out”. 

    • You can come back to the saved application later and resume it. 

    • If your application is rejected for being incomplete (i.e., your application contains non-responsive answers or you failed to answer a critical question), you will be able to 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. 

    • If you are a frequent visa applicant, you can update your saved application the next time you wish to apply for a visa and submitted the updated application. You will not have to re-enter all the information that has not changed since your last application and this will save you some time.
  • After you are finished with the application, it is recommended that you save your file in a CD or flash drive. This would be helpful in case you need to redo the application in case of any errors, as you will not need to start from scratch.

  • Tips translation
    Most of the instructions on various pages while filling the form have been translated into various languages such as Arabic, Chinese-Simplified, Chinese-Traditional, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Montenegrin(Latin), Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, etc. In order to view the translation, you should position your mouse cursor over any group of text display on the page. Based on the Consulate you are applying, the appropriate language is automatically selected. However, if you would like to select a different language, there is a drop-down box for selecting tooltip language at the top right side of the web page that displays the form.

No Changes Allowed

Once you submit the online form DS-160 and print the confirmation page, you will not be able to access the submitted form and make changes without changing the bar code.

Do not write anything by hand on the confirmation page. 

You can fill the form again, but it will generate a new bar code. Therefore, you can do that if you have not already taken the appointment. 

If you realize that there are any errors in the submitted information after taking the appointment, you will have to cancel and schedule a new appointment with the new bar code number after filling the new DS-160 form. However, in the case of a minor spelling error, you may go to the interview and inform the interviewing officer of the error without completing a new form.

Wrong information on the DS-160 may affect the information printed on your visa and may result in the U.S. Embassy/Consulate requesting a new DS-160 before you can complete the visa interview.

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