May 02, 2012

Complete guide to fill out your DS-160 form

This post  will give a complete insight to fill out your DS-160 to schedule your visa appointment. If you are comfortable with a video tutorial, find it here:
Step 1: Paying Visa Fee at HDFC Bank 
How much?
Visa fee : $160. Note : Visa fee will be revised when the dollar rate changes.
Note: The visa fees was scheduled to increase from 13th April, 2012 by $20.

Where do I pay this fee?
At select HDFC Bank branches.The list of branches are given here

What documents do I need?
Just a photocopy of the first page of your passport. Refer this page for the assistance.

How do I pay this fee?
You can pay in either of these three ways:
1) Cash (Highly Recommended, it relieves you of all hassles)
2) Demand Draft
3) HDFC Bank ChequeDrafts
After you pay the fee, you will get two copies of the receipt - One Pink and One Blue. Keep these safely. We will see what to do with them later.There will be a barcode sticker on both receipts with the same number. Please note this number since you will need it to login to the VFS site.Your barcode number will be activated two working days after you pay the fee. You cannot login to the forms till then.

Step 2 : Pay SEVIS Fee :
How much is the SEVIS fee?

How do I pay this fee?
You can pay this fee online by credit card at You need to fill out Form I-901 before paying the fee. Please keep your printer ready to get a copy of the receipt after paying the fee. Try to get atleast 2 copies.

What documents do I need?
You will need your I-20 to fill the I-901 form. If your I-20 has been issued, but you havent received it yet, ask your university to send you your SEVIS number and School Code. You can then fill the form.

What should I choose Standard Delivery or Expedited Delivery, after payment?
My suggestion is to go for standard Delivery. You do not need the I-797 receipt that they send you for the visa application. If you have too much money, select Expedited Delivery (Around $35).

Step 3 : Fill The Visa Application Forms :
I recommend you to look at this post to learn the instructions before you start filling out DS-160 form: 
Getting Started:
Select the location from the dropdown convinient to you. This place is the place where you would give your VI. After you select the location the page will refresh which is PATHETIC(Since we have AJAX technology to minimize such irritating things but never mind)you will see a test photo button with other buttons as well.They have added this new AFAIK but before you uplaod any photo do read the standard guidelines. Better upload a scanned copy of your photo taken in the studio as they require a white background at the back and clear picture of ur face. (One can skip this phase as at the end it will again ask you to upload ur photo).

Personal1: Your name, Sex, Marital status, Date of birth, Born city, State, Country as per your passport.
Personal2: Nationality, National Identification number(No need to fill), US SSN no. if applies, address, Phone number, e-mail etc

All the details about your passport are required. Pay attention and fill the details of your passport. The passport book number space can be left blank as it is not applicable.

In this section you are going to be the Principal applicant and select your visa category from the drop down. Then enter your temporary travel plan to the US(tentative).  For the field, 'Do you know any one any from U.S?', you can write your university address that would do fine and also the details of the person who is going to fund youur ticket( Could be your Dad)

Travel Companions
You could mention if any.

Previous Travels to US
If you have been to U.S before, you need to give to those details.

US Contact
Enter the details of the Contact person whom you know in the US. If your school does have a Indian Student Association, you could write one of the person's details from that committe. If no ISA exists, write one of the professor names from your school website.

Enter Father and mother's full name, date of birth. Then enter the details of any of your immediate relatives living in the US(if any)

Enter the details of your employment details then your under graduation details (select NO if you have already entered these details in the present section)

All answers will be NO to this section. Check out if any exemptions work for you.

Security, Background Medical and Health
Again NO to all unless yes is needed
For criminal, all will be NO. I don't know any one who got U.S visa with criminal infringments on them.

Immigration Law Violations
Should be NO

Should be NO

Additional Contact
Provide additional contacts and details of two persons other than your relatives. Like your uncle,friend,neighbour. I put in the names of my college buddies.

Enter your SEVIS number (found on the right top corner of your I-20) If you don't have one you can request your University's ISS office and they can e-mail it to you. Also enter the details about the university which you are planning to go to.

The digital image must adhere to the following specifications:
Dimensions The image dimensions must be in a square aspect ratio (the height must be equal to the width). Minimum acceptable dimensions are 600 x 600 pixels. Maximum acceptable dimensions are 1200 x 1200 pixels.
Color The image must be in color (24 bits per pixel) in sRGB color space which is the common output for most digital cameras.
File Format The image must be in JPEG file format
File Size The image must be less than or equal to 240 kB (kilobytes).
Compression The image may need to be compressed in order for it to be under the maximum file size. The compression ratio should be less than or equal to 20:1.

Once you done with uploading your photo, you will need to review all the entered. You MUST save the application before doing that which could be done as saving file on your computer. This helps you if anything goes wrong. Go through the complete application again check all details clearly. I would suggest get it checked by someone else too.

After you done with reviewing your application you will need to digitally sign the application form(its like typing in your Passport number and other minor details). Once if you submit it, you cannot make any changes in your application. Once you submit your application you will see a token like slip (DS 160 Confirmation) with your photograph and some details and a barcode on the right. In big bold capital red letters it would be written in the bottom"This is not a VISA"This token is what we need to print the token(DS 160 Confirmation) and print the complete application as well for your reference. Try to get atleast  3 copies of both and it is suggested to save it as well for use in case.
        • Sample DS-160 Confirmation page
Visit follow the instructions carefully and schedule your appointment accordingly.Save all the pdf documents carefully after you finish taking your dates and go through all the instructions carefully.

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nnn said...


I am a new doctoral student going to USA
on a funded program. I may have made mistake in the travel details
section in DS 160 (for F1 visa). "Person/Entity paying for your trip: does it refer to plane tickets or the entire course fee? In answer to “Person/Entity paying for
your trip” I have mentioned “parents” . I had thought that trip only
refers to the plane fare journey part which is being paid by my parents
instead of University. I have other documents showing proof of
University funding my stay such as offer letter, I-20. I have already
submitted my DS 160, paid the fees and booked the interview. Will this
error create a problem? Should I make a new DS 160 and get a new
appointment? Please advise asap.

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