Home » US Immigration - Visas » H1B Visa » Documents, Info Needed to Fill DS-160 Form: 5 Tips to Save Time

Documents, Info Needed to Fill DS-160 Form: 5 Tips to Save Time

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, 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 in 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 out the DS-160 form for my H1B visa stamping. For instance, I had to dig up addresses 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, and Info to complete DS-160 Form Online

In general, we take a 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 a variety of reasons like missing info and session time-out issues. It took two days for me to fill out this form…

The below list is not comprehensive, but it has information or documents that we tend to overlook

Checklist of Documents, info needed to fill out DS-160 form:

  • Address of the location you plan to stay in the United States (with zip code)
  • If you have a flight ticket booked, the information about when your flight arrives in the US
  • If you have been to the US before:
    • List of dates you arrived in the US
    • How long was your trip in the US for each visit
  • If you have been in the US and have a Drivers license from the US, that information
  • Information about your contact person in the 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 the US
    • Company Name, Address
    • Your Monthly Salary in the US ( check LCA for this info)
    • Description of your job duties ( check the resume you have sent to USCIS)
  • If you have not worked in the US yet and are applying for H1B, L1, or Other visas
    • Your current employment information in your home country
    • Employer name
    • Employer address
    • When you started working at your company
    • Your monthly income/ salary details your local currency.
  • If applying for H1B, L1 or other Petition based visas
  • Previous work-related information
    • List of previous companies’ names in last five 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 10th grade onwards.
    • High School – 10th grade school details with full name and address, including dates attended
    • Junior college name( 11th and 12th class or grade), Full address with Pin/ Zip Code, Dates attended.
    • Bachelor’s degree college name, full address, dates attended, degree awarded.
    • If you have a master’s degree, you need the same info as above.

The above list should be sufficient for any work-related visa like H1B or L1 visa. For other kinds of visas, you will need most of the information except the petitioner and other information related to work.

Basic list of documents you should have :

  1. Passport (along with any US visas issued before)
  2. Approval notice forms  I-797 form (if applying for H1B, L1, or other petition based visas)

DS-160 Monthly Income in Local Currency

If you are applying for H1B, L1 or other work visa stamping and have never traveled to the US, you would be asked to fill out your current employment information and salary information.

You would come across a question that reads “monthly income in local currency (if employed)“. For this question, you will need to enter your current monthly salary paid by the company that you currently work for. It will be in your country’s local currency and not in USD. For instance, if you work in India, it will be in Indian Rupees (INR), if you work in Singapore, it will be Singapore Dollars(SGD).

For example, let’s say your salary is 120,000 INR per year, then your monthly salary would be 10,000 INR and you will need to enter 10,000 INR in the field.

You will need to have proof of the monthly income that you enter for this question in the form of offer letter, salary slips or tax filings. You cannot just randomly put something here. Make sure you carry this document as well for visa interview.

If you are not employed at the moment, then you would check the box “Does not apply” and leave it blank. This is to indicate that you are not working for any company in your home country.

Passport Book number, Visa number in DS-160 Form

You maybe asked for passport book number when you are completing the DS-160 form…if you are an Indian citizen, you do not need this. If , 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. Check Sample US Visa, field info to know more

Course of Study in DS-160 for 10th, 12th, Bachelors

When you are completing the form DS-160, you will get a section on Education, where you need to fill in your education details. You must fill in all our education details starting from 10th Class, including 12th, until your highest degree.

When they ask in DS-160 about Secondary school, they technically mean 10th Class. Also, when they say High School in DS-160, they mean 11th and 12th Class ( intermediate in some countries). You must enter all your education institutions’ details starting from 10th Class, including 12th Class and Bachelors degree as applicable, up to your highest degree.

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

  1. Write Application Number or Save it: 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 shown at the first time you start filling out the application; if you miss it, you are in trouble and need to create a new one again…
  2. Session Timeouts: The system is not so good at 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 due to session timeouts. Have half a day allocated with all your information with you to avoid delays.
  3. Save Text in Notepad or MS Word: Make sure you have all the information I have listed above at hand and have it typed up in a Notepad file, MS Word or on paper for easy form filling. It will save you time with session timeouts.
  4. Allocate two to three hours: They say that you will need 75 minutes, but in reality, you might need at least two hours or more…make sure you have a proper uninterrupted Internet connection for an extended period of time.
  5. Digital Photo: You will need a digital photo; make sure you take it with a white 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 your application.

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

If you are applying for H1B Dropbox, you can read Step by Step guide to H1B Dropbox


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  1. Hello,
    I filled DS-160 for my H1 appointment in India but forgot to mention 10 th and 12th grade info. For education section I only filled my bachelors and maters degree i completed. I have submitted the DS160 form and book the appointment.
    Is it a major change. Can i ask support team to update 10/12 details on the day of Biometric or fill a new DS160 and submit and bring both DS 160 confirmation page and ask to use latest DS 160 form.

  2. Hello Kumar,

    I had created DS 160 last year and had an appointment for H1B stamping.. I couldn’t travel . i have rescheduled 2 times . is there any max limit for rescheduling? Also is there any validity for DS 160? should we create new one again after a year. please reply.


  3. Previous Education details:
    1. Do I need fill the college name or university name, since in OD only university name is specified, there is no college name in any of the testimonials or OD
    2. Course of study – 10th or SSC/I2th or IPE/B.tech or ECE

  4. I recently got my green card and i want to bring my mom to visit USA…this information was very helpful and i think i will start saving from today to reach minimum 10000$ balance before i invite my mom to the USA.

    The process is very simple to follow, i think i can process all the documents my self.

  5. Hi, I have originally filled my DS160 with proposed VAC as Vancouver but due to unavailability of slots, I had to opt for Ottawa for my PAI. Can someone please confirm if I need to create a fresh DS160 with Ottawa as VAC ?
    Note: This does not confirm me that I will get a slot in Ottawa with the new DS160 application number…. so how do we get around this issue ? Please advise.

  6. Hey, I’m looking for an appointment for h1b in Vancouver, Canada. Where do I have to fill out the shipping address in canada for them to send me back the passport after the interview? Can I just write my friend’s home address? Is there an option to pick up the passport instead? Please help its urgent .

      • Thanks ! So I didnt know that there was a pick up option on the consulate website. I already wrote my Indian address as home address, canadian friends address as mailing address . Should I make another DS 160 and correct the mailing to my US residence? I would rather pick up my passport than have them mail it to my friend

        • Rashmi,
          Try emailing them before you fill another one. Some of these rules can change, so double check by emailing or calling them and then only do the change. Do update here.
          It should be fine to leave it that way too…

  7. Hello Admin,

    I have already completed my Master’s and right now, I am pursuing my second masters with 1st day CPT. My H1-b got approved last month and planning an India trip for stamping.
    While filling the DS-160, they didn’t allow me to add the future graduation date for my current Masters under the education section and later on, I submitted without mentioning the current masters.
    How do I mention my current masters in DS160 form?

    • You should have an option for Present Work/ Training / Education, that’s where you put in your current degree and education details. Even you are on Day 1 CPT, You are still an F1 student and pursuing degree, you should enter your present education details in there.

      • Thank you for your prompt response.

        Since my H1-b got affected by 10/01/2019, I had mentioned about the present work in that section and it is an either-or option, therefore, either I can write about present work or the present education.
        Do you recommend me to change it from the present work to present education?

        • Jay, you need to very clear on what you are doing…even though you are working on CPT, you are a still a student, that is your primary occupation… think about it.
          I will leave it up your discretion.

          • Hi Kumar,

            I am also in similar situation like Jay. I got my h1b and status both approved From 1st October. So, Do I need to mention second master as present occupation in DS160 ? If yes then where I need to mention my company details? or If No, Where I can mention my college details as it is not allowing me to add future date?

      • If on Day 1 CPT and still working, where should I add the present work information (as I can select either student or work in the “Present Work/Education/Training Information” section )

  8. Do we need to fill a new DS-160 if we are changing status from F-1 to H-1B?
    Also, how can we check H-1B visa appointment availability dates before payment?

    • You need DS-160 for any visa stamping that you plan to go to US consulate. You can check Wait times at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/wait-times.html

  9. Hello – Is it mandatory to include my 10th/SSLC details in DS-160? I have added my 12th, UG, and PG details. If I have to add 10th, what is the duration I should specify? Is it just 1 year or 10 years of schooling? Thank you!

      • how to put this in course of study in DS160

        10th and 12th as academic
        graduation and post graduation ??

        like i have done MBA in marketing Management so shall i put Marketing management or MBA-marketing management in course of study..

        urgent plz

        • MBA is one masters degree. You need to enter details for all of these : 10th, 12th, Bachelors and then Masters. They will have timeline, so you need to enter accordingly

  10. Hi
    I am on H4 EAD visa and I am working too. Can I bring my father and step mother here with my employer’s letter or should it be through my husband’s. My husband is on H1B visa

    • It can be on your name too, they just need invite. They will need proof of funds and who will be the sponsor. if they have enough funds, then it is fine. If your family is sponsoring their trip, then need your spouse’s paystubs, bank statement with funds as proof. Read Parents US Visa Filing Process

  11. hi,

    I answered “No” on question “Are there other persons traveling with you? ” because at that time I don’t know yet who will be my companion in the office. But I know I will have someone who will travel with me. Can I change my answer? Thank you

    • See, if the system allows you to do that. If not, you can always create a new DS 160 form. Call the customer service, they can guide you.

  12. I am applying for an F2 visa and my husband is on F1 visa. I have a doubt in filling the details of primary occupation in ds160 form , previously I used to work for Intelenet global services in India for 1 year and from past 6 months I’m unemployed so do I need to select the option for primary occupation as
    Unemployed /homemaker
    And what explaination need to be give if unemployed is selected

    • Your current work is homemaker. So, you should select that.
      Also, you can also add your previous work experience in there, you can specify the duration in there.

  13. Hi Kumar,

    I booked my visa stamping interview slot for April 3rd week with my current H1b approval, while my h1b transfer was pending. Now my h1b transfer is approved.

    Do i need to book for the new interview slot? or can i use the same interview slot? if i use the same slot what all information do i need to update?

    Please suggest.

    • Hi grace,

      I am also in similar situation, did you go to the interview on April 3rd week using the new approved H1B?

      Appreciate if you can reply.

  14. Hi

    I am filing for DS160 for my H1B stamping. I have query about the length of stay in US before.
    I am currently in US on F1 visa and my last travel date to India is Nov2015-Dec2015. So now what should I write in length of stay field as from 2015 I am still in US.

      • Your article is really very helpful.But I think I made a mistake while filling ds 160 form.I only mentioned my bachelor’s degree and not about 10th and 12th grades.Also,I have booked the visa slot so is my ds 160 wrong?I am worried.
        Kindly help me out

        • sam,
          You can always create a new DS-160 form and have all the details on it. Carry a print out of both and tell at the Consulate that you did a mistake, it should be fine. You can also call the customer service of ustraveldocs or embassy to get it clarified.

  15. I and my wife both are indian citizen. We are having valid passports. We are senior citizens. We were given 10 year visa by USA authorities. But the same has since expired. My wife once had been to USA. Our son has settled in USA with green card. We now would like to visit USA to meet our son and family. Will you please guide us for getting visa. I am sure the above information will be given free of cost. If not, please advise me the amount before sending the information so that I can decide in advance to get your help our otherwise.

  16. Hello,

    I am currently on L1 visa which is expiring next month. I have a new H1 approved petition. I will be going to India for H1B stamping next month.

    I filled the wrong Date of birth of my mother in my DS 160 of my previous visa stamping for L1. It got approved with no issues. Can I Correct the DOB now? How will it affect in future when I will be applying my parents VISA or my Green Card.

    Appreciate your response & thanks for looking into it.

  17. Hi,

    I have question for filing ds160. I have an approved petition with cmpny A, now my company rebranded as company B basically company A d/b/a company B. while filling ds 160 do i need to enter legal name which is Company A or d/b/a Company B. any other things that i should also be aware of? any help will be appreciated. my role & responsibility remain same .


  18. I am an Indian Student. I’m filling the DS-160 form for getting F1 visa. In the previous education information section, do I need to fill my 10th & 12th grade details separately? Or do I fill the details considering 9th-12th as high school?
    Also, in the additional work information section, do they want the charitable organization list I have contributed to in the past 5 years or more/less than that?

    • Aakriti,
      If you have attended the same institution, then no need. If they are separate, then you will need to fill them separately. You will have dates attended from and to, that defines the period of study. You should always add, if you have formal working documents with the organization and they can provide the same.

  19. I’m working under O1-B Approval Notice and going back to my country for a vacation in summer. So I have to take an interview at consulate and now I’m filling out DS 160 form to apply. DS-160 form ask me about petitioner’s monthly income but I don’t know if it asks me the gross income of his company or the amount he actually gets after he pays to his employee ( it’s awkward to ask how much he gets for himself…). Does it include tax ?? It also asks me his address. Should I write the address of his company or his home address ? I don’t even know why they ask such things….I would really appreciate if you could help me !

    • Kris,

      If you haven’t scheduled your appointment yet, then complete another DS-160 form and discard the old one. If interview is already scheduled then make the changes when you appear for biometrics. You can request the person going over your DS-160 form during the biometrics appointment.

  20. i am filling ds 160 for parents for attending my convocation day. my question are as follows
    1. is it b1/b2 visa
    2. USA point of contact – whose details- me or university details
    3. companion travelling with you . 5 member travelling including my brother in law
    what option shall i select and also do i have to enter there names individually in this section .

  21. Hi Saurabh, while filling DS 160 for h1b visa place of work should be client address or employer address Please confirm Thanks Joseph

  22. I have a question regarding Intended length of stay in Business visa. While filling the DS-160, I mentioned 1 month while yesterday my manager confirmed that the training is going to be only for 15 days so most probably i would be staying there for 15 days.
    Is there a way I can change the lenght of stay from 1 month to 15 days or I can explain the same during interview.
    I don’t know if this discrepancy can cause denial of Visa.

    Please help me what should be done here.

    • Nilesh,

      Usually B-1/2 is approved for 3-10 years and w/ multiple entry option. So you would be able to stay for more than 15-30 days even if you entered a lower term in your DS form. The PoE officer would grant an actual term when you enter US. Typically it is 6 months.

  23. I had a question regarding primary occupation in form DS-160. I have an MBA and currently working as Product Manager, what should I fill in the field? I work for a middleware firm.

  24. Please help me out !!!
    Hey all,
    I have completed my masters and i have got h-1 approved .So, When i was applying for F-1 visa , I have filled put ds -160 form with experience in India . In usa , I got job without using that experience , Cause i wanted to have a fresh start . now tat i got my h-1 approved . Now my present ds-160 will be different than the previous ds-160. Will that create ant problem during interview, If so how to avoid it ?
    Please help me out


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