Required Info to fill DS-160 Form for US Visa stamping – 5 Tips

US Visa stamping DS-160 form filling tips

by Kumar · 441 comments

I have filled quite a few forms related to various kinds of visa stamping over the years, but every time I try to fill one of them, there is some sort of frustration due to factors like searching for old info and session timing out, forcing me to re-fill everything. Imagine you are filling some info after searching a lot and you get kicked out at the end…what if the system does that for over 10 times, that’s really frustrating…isn’t it ? I was in the same boat trying to fill DS-160 form for my H1B visa stamping. For instance, I had to dig up address and info about my 11th and 12th grade( junior college) address and zip code, which was quite a few years ago….anyways, Let me share my experience and give my suggestions on what you should have at hand before you start filling the DS-160 form…

List of documents / Information needed for Filling out DS-160 Form


In general, we take few things for granted and start filling out the DS-160 form, but in reality, it does not work that way. It took me over a day to get it done due to variety of reasons like missing info and session time out issues. In fact, it took two days for my friend to fill out this form…This below list is not a comprehensive list, but it has information or documents that we tend to overlook

Required list of info/documents that we typically overlook:

  • Address of location you plan to stay in United States (with zip code)
  • If you have flight ticket booked, Information about flight that arrives in US
  • If you have been to US before:
    • list of dates you have arrived in US
    • How long was your trip in US for each visit
  • If you have been in US and have Drivers license from US, its information
  • Information about your contact person in US (to verify your details), typically your supervisor
    • First name, Last name
    • Phone number
    • Email address
    • Address of the person
  • Information about your parents ( Check their passports )
    • Mother’s Full Name, Date of Birth
    • Father’s Full Name, Date of Birth
  • Current work related information in US
    • Company Name, Address
    • Your Monthly Salary in US ( check LCA for this info)
    • Description of your job duties ( check the resume you have sent to USCIS)
  • Previous work related information
    • List of previous companies names in last 5 years
    • Employment dates – Start and end date
    • Addresses of companies, Phone numbers
    • Your previous titles
    • Your previous supervisors’ names
    • Your previous  job duties descriptions
  • Previous Education details : Need everything from 11th grade( intermediate)
    • Junior college name( 11th and 12th class or grade), Full address with Pin/ Zip Code, Dates attended
    • Bachelors degree college name, full address, dates attended, degree awarded
    • if you have masters degree, need same info as above

I guess, the above list should be necessary for any work related visa like H1B or L1 visa. For other kinds of visas, I would guess you need most of the information, except work related info.

Basic list of documents you should have :

  1. Passport (along with any US visas issued before)
  2. Approval notice forms  I-797 form

Clarifications : Passport Book number, Visa number :


You will be asked for passport book number…if you are an Indian citizen, you do not need this. If not, check your passport for this info…check NOT applicable, if you do not find it in your passport. Also, if you have been to US before, you will be asked to enter the US visa number. If you look at the US visa stamped on your passport, it is the number on the right hand bottom in RED color.

5 Tips to fill out the DS-160 form for US visa :

  1. Your information is saved by screen as you complete it. In order to retrieve your info, you need the Application Number. Make sure you write your Application number on a piece of paper, you WILL NEED this application number and the security check question answer. It will be showed at the first time you start filling the application, if you miss it, you are screwed !
  2. The system is not so good on calculating your session time…. It will just time out your session for no reason sometimes and drive you nuts.. just be prepared ( It kicked me out over 10 times) Be patient, it can be frustrating at times due to session time outs. Have half a day allocated with all your information with you for avoiding delays.
  3. Make sure you have all the information I have listed above to be at hand and have it typed up in notepad file or on paper for easy form filling. It will save your time with session time outs.
  4. They say that you will need 75 minutes, but in reality you might need at least two hours or more…make sure you have proper uninterrupted Internet connection for extended period of time.
  5. You will need digital photo, make sure you take it with plain background. You may edit it by cropping. There is an option to test your photo before you start your application . Check this before you proceed with application.

Have you ever filled out DS-160 form ? What are your thoughts ? Any tips to share from your experience ?

{ 441 comments… read them below or add one }

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1 2 3 4

vujvala September 21, 2014 at 11:43 pm

Hi
While applying for L1 Visa, we have to fill the DS 160 form. In that form can we mention the family details(who are living in USA)? If No why? If Yes.. please clarify a doubt like when applying for B1 visa one of my friend told that we should not mention the family details (living in USA). Please help me ASAP

Reply

madhu September 10, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Hi everyone.

I got to know that my H1b lottery got selected in may 2014 as said by my employer.

I am completely unaware of H1b process.

I would like to know, by when (Date ) do i need to fill my DS 160 form ? as i was not informed anything about it by my employer till now. Who should be filling it, can my employer fill it on my behalf without my notice, as they don’t follow transparency in this process. Please help…. I am scared…

Reply

Narayanan September 11, 2014 at 5:12 am

You first need to make sure with your employer if and when your travel is planned. Once you have that info, you need to ensure that the US Entity of your employer has filed a petition on your behalf. You shall then receive this petition and a truck load of documents which you need to present at the US Consulate during your interview process. Once you receive this petition, you need to go to the online portal for US Non Immigration VISA Applications, and fill out the DS-160 Form (https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/) and set up your interview date.

This is the usual procedure followed. However, please make sure to confirm with your employer before you proceed with VISA Applications and let me off the hook here! ;) :)

Good luck!
Cheers..

Reply

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Reply

Suresh July 17, 2014 at 10:51 am

Hi All,

I have Submitted DS 160 form. I filled only My Highest Education details. Is it Ok? I have all the certificates with me.

Regards,
Suresh

Reply

S.S July 17, 2014 at 5:23 am

Hi,

I have H1b decision approved. While filling the DS 160 form, i came accross this question

‘Has anyone ever filed an immigrant petition on your behalf with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services?’

What should be my answer to this question,

This is first time i m applying for H1b visa.

Reply

ASP July 17, 2014 at 8:47 am

That means has anyone filed an I-140 petition on your behalf

Reply

Megha July 15, 2014 at 2:32 pm

I am an international student and I have taken a gap year after my 12th grade . During this gap I have worked for an NGO . In the DS-160 ,when they ask me for my present work/education information what do I give them ? Do I say student or so I submit my NGo info . Please help.

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deepak April 20, 2014 at 10:43 am

hi,
i have already filled up the ds-160 form but the mistake i did is dat i forgot to create a family application at the end ..i filled new application for my wife same day. I want to know our interview can be together as a family? pls suggest me wat can i do..

Reply

Saurabh April 20, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Deepak,
DS-160 form needs to be completed by each individual. So you complete your own DS form, and your wife completes hers. When applying for interview slot, you can convert the interview into a family application so that both can appear together (as long as you are appearing for related visa categories).

Reply

tenzing loden bhuti April 9, 2014 at 12:48 am

hello saurabh,

my name is tenzing and i have already filled up the ds-160 form but the mistake i did is dat i forgot to create a family application at the end ..coz even my mom is applying for it..so can u pls suggest me wat can i do..

Reply

Saurabh April 9, 2014 at 2:53 pm

tenzing loden bhuti,
DS-160 form needs to be completed per person i.e. each individual needs to complete their own DS-160 form. When applying for visa interview, you have the ability to convert the interview into a family interview so that all applicants can appear together.

Reply

Help in Filling DS-160 Form December 5, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Hi Friends,

I am going to fill DS-160 form for me and family (wife & baby).

Do i need to complete my form first and then proceed with their DS-160 forms?
(Or) both can be done simaltanious?

Any issues if i am not able to upload photos in DS-160 forms?

Please explain the process like -Whether can i do like below?

1). DS-160 for me
2). DS-160 for my wife
3). DS-160 for my baby
4). Group appointment

Reply

Kumar December 5, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Me and my wife had a recently visa stamped on h1 and h4. we have a baby born about 10 months and we have got his passport too.

my son’s passport family details:
father :my name
Mother my wife’s married name i.e my name, my surname.

my wife’s passport family details ( before marriage passport)
father: her father with different surname
mother: her mother with her married name.

I have started filling up ds 160 for my son and I have following questions.

1 ) my wife has a visa stamped on her passport with maiden name and she is still using the old name. when we applied for my son’s passport we had chosen to put the mother’s name as her married name. in short, my son’s passport is having my wife’s name as married name and we have not use her maiden name.

now when it comes to DS 160 filling, what name I should put for my wife, married name ? which doesn’t exist on the passport yet but my son’s passport having that name. or my wife’s maiden name ? in which she has a visa stamped.

however, I am the principle applicant on h1 and not my wife.

Reply

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