How to Fill a DS-160 Form for a US Student Visa [2021]: Step by Step Guide
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How to Fill a DS-160 Form for a US Student Visa [2021]: Step by Step Guide

Ashok R

Table of Contents

By filling in the DS– 160 Form, you are requesting for a  temporary travel visa To the United States. You’re at the stage to fill the DS-160 form after paying your $350 SEVIS Fee. After carefully reviewing all the steps of your student visa application and collecting all the necessary documents for submission, you are ready to get the DS-160 form process underway.

This is a crucial step in the US Visa application process, and you must do this attentively. A US Visa Consular Officer will carefully review this form as a part of your application process to determine your eligibility for the US visa, so ensure that all the details are correct.

The DS-160 form is an integral part of the application process for a temporary travel visa, such as an F-1 or M-1 visa to the United States of America. It is also known as the Nonimmigrant Visa Application. The validity of an F-1 visa is typically five years from the date your educational program starts, but it is subject to maintaining your status as a student In the US.

The DS-160 form is submitted online, and it contains the applicant’s personal information and information regarding their family. Along with the personal interview, this form gives the US Consular Visa officers at the United States Embassy  the information they need to determine Your Eligibility to apply for a Nonimmigrant visa, particularly an F-1 visa for international students. This eligibility check is a make-or-break step in your US student visa application process.

Given the importance of the DS 160 form, it is worth understanding the Consular officers’ expectations while reviewing it. Any errors made while filling in the details cannot be rectified later. You will have to restart the Entire process with a new form.

Hence, we break down the DS-160 form filling process into 11 simple steps here.

DS-160 Application Step 1: Selecting a Consulate

The very first step on the DS– 160 form sign-in page is the selection of a US Visa Consulate. Once you select your preferred US Consulate, you will be asked to enter the CAPTCHA code for verification.

On selecting Start Application, you are assigned a DS-160 application number that is unique to you. Ensure that you save this number since it serves as a link between your profile and your US Student visa interview timings.

You will be able to manage your application and return to it later using the DS– 160 application number. You have to select Retrieve Application on the sign-in page and use your application number when you wish to continue filling your DS– 160 application.

To make the retrieval process smooth, make sure to save your application after every section And in between sections.

DS– 160 Application Step 2: The Security Question

A standard security question appears for all applicants in the second section of the application. The question is, ‘What is the given name of your mother’s mother?’

It is advisable to save your answer to save your progress later while retrieving the form.

DS– 160 Application Step 3: Personal Information

After this, you will have to enter all the basic information about yourself, such as your full name, your name in your native alphabet, and information regarding any previous name or names you might have had.

You will be shown a Telecode next and asked if it represents your name. You will have to select NO here.

The next page is related to your present nationality and previous nationalities, if any. You will need to fill this section appropriately according to your profile and submit it.

DS– 160 Application Step 4: Contact Information

You need to fill in additional personal details in this section related to your address and phone information. A mandatory street address must be provided, followed by the second line of an optional stress address. Further details of your residence, such as your city of residence, state or province, country, and postal code, will follow.

In case your mailing address is not the same as your home address, you will also need to provide your mailing address here.

Next, you will have to enter a phone number for contacting you along with an additional optional number.

DS– 160 Application Step 5: Passport Information

In general, your type of passport will come under the Regular category unless you hold a passport from a different category (such as a diplomatic or official passport). In such a case, make sure to select the category your passport falls under from the drop-down menu. You will be asked to provide your passport number after this. Double-check to make sure you have entered the correct number.

If you have a Passport Book Number or Inventory Control Number in your passport, make sure you enter it in the section provided. If not, you can select the box that says Does Not Apply and move ahead.

As a student applying to study in the United States of America, the purpose of your trip will be Academic or Language Student (F) if applying for an  F-1 Student Visa and vocational student while applying for an M-1 visa.

You can mention the date of your flight tickets as your intended date of travel, and if you are yet to book them, you can enter a date about a week before your orientation. The intended length of stay will be the duration of your study program, which in most cases is around two years for a masters program and 4 years for an undergrad program.

You will need to mention the name and contact information of your sponsor and your relationship with them. If you are financing the entire trip by yourself, then you can mention SELF.

The I-20 form provided by your university will have its address. This needs to be mentioned in the address Where you will stay in the US section.

DS– 160 Application Step 6: Travel Information and Point of Contact

In case you are travelling with your family or anyone else who is not a student, you need to mention them as your travel companions.

Next, you will have to give details regarding your previous travel or application to travel to the US.

You can find the school official who is your US Point of Contact in your I-20 form. You can get their email address and contact number on the institution’s website, and their address will be the same as the institution’s address as mentioned in the I-20.

DS– 160 Application Step 7: Family Information

You will need to provide all the basic information related to your family members in this section. All data, such as spellings of names, must be accurate according to each individual’s official data.

DS– 160 Application Step 8: Present Work/ Education/ Training Information

Those who are not studying or working can select NOT EMPLOYED in the primary occupation section. Working professionals need to mention their previous and current employment details.

You will also have to mention your educational qualifications, which detail the degree you currently hold. This is followed up by more specific questions, such as a list of places you have travelled to in the past five years and the languages you speak. For security reasons, you will also be asked if you have knowledge of and skills related to the field of explosives, if you have served in the armed forces or been a part of a rebel group, and other such questions. Unless you have a valid reason and explanation for mentioning YES, the answers to these questions for you will be NO.

DS– 160 Application Step 9: Security-specific questions

A five-part section follows, which has questions to ensure that you will not be causing any trouble during your stay in the United States of America.

The questions will range from asking about communicable diseases you may have to disorders, addictions, or your family members’ criminal history. You will also be asked if you have tried to gain immigration status in the US by unlawful means previously.

If you answer YES to any of these without an explanation, it will be a cause of alarm for the Consular Officer.

DS– 160 Application Step 10: US Student Visa Information

Since you will be applying for an F-1 visa, the next section will have student visa-related questions. Details of your school and course will need to be mentioned here, along with your SEVIS id. You should have all this information with you in the I-20 form or from your institution’s website.

DS– 160 Application Step 11: Photograph and Review

Your photograph will generally be taken at the Application Service Centre unless specified otherwise.

Make sure to review all your information once more before submitting the form since you cannot make any changes to the form after submission. This step is vital to avoid delays arising from the need for submitting a new form.

Once you have reviewed the information and are satisfied with it, you can click Submit. You will receive a confirmation upon submission that you will need to keep a physical copy for the further visa process.

After completing your DS-160 Form, you are one step closer to getting your visa. Following steps include paying your visa $160 visa fee post which you can book your visa appointment.

You can proceed to book a date for your visa interview from those available on the embassy or consulate website after this. You can book a slot at a different Consulate location as well. Make sure to carry a copy of the confirmation of your DS-160 form submission for your interview. Look through some common questions for F-1 visa interviews and learn about a typical F-1 visa interview experience to better prepare for your upcoming interview.

Amidst the ongoing pandemic, checking the Current Covid-19 related rules is also vital. Hence, make sure you are updated about the latest information regarding F-1 visa updates.

The information required in your DS-160 form may be basic and easy to find, but you must give yourself time to fill each section without missing anything and reviewing your answers. This will keep your visa application on track, and you will be able to rest easy knowing that you are a step closer to getting your F-1 visa.