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 :
- Passport (along with any US visas issued before)
- 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 :
- 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 !
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 ?