The State Department’s Visa Office recently provided guidance and practical advice on the submission and processing of DS-160 nonimmigrant visa applications based on some frequently asked questions:
Q: If an applicant completes a Form DS-160 for one consular post and then applies for a nonimmigrant visa at a different post, is a new DS-160 required?
A: While it is technically possible for a DS-160 to be transferred from one post to another, the time that it takes to transfer the DS-160 is unpredictable; the transfer can become complicated if the originally listed post recorded the applicant as a no-show; a busy post may conclude it is far more efficient to work with a new application than to wait for the DS-160 to transfer.
Q: Does preparation of a second DS-160 to correct a mistake in an initially prepared and submitted form have any adverse effect on a nonimmigrant visa application?
A: No. An applicant would not be adversely affected if he or she chooses to submit a second DS-160 and schedules another interview based on that barcode.
Q: If an applicant schedules a nonimmigrant visa application appointment using the bar code information from a submitted DS-160 and then realizes there was a mistake in the data entered, can the applicant complete another DS-160 that has new bar code data without having to reschedule a visa interview appointment?
A: It is not recommended. Attending an interview with a different bar code than the one scheduled with may cause processing delays necessitating that the applicant reschedule.
Q: Are there any mistakes on a DS-160 that can be corrected at the time of the interview (e.g., nonmaterial information), or should all mistakes be corrected on a new DS-160 application?
A: The DS-160 applications are locked upon submission. Consular staff may enter remarks, but generally the original data remains as submitted. Depending on the nature of the correction (e.g., wrong visa class chosen), an application may be unlocked for the applicant to make corrections and resubmit. However, this may necessitate rescheduling the interview and returning to the embassy at a later date.
Q: If an applicant completes and submits a DS-160 and then obtains a new passport, is it necessary to submit a new DS-160, or can the consulate amend the passport information at the interview? Does using a new passport with a new passport number that is not the one used to schedule the interview present any problem entering the consular post?
A: Generally, no. It is not necessary for the applicant to submit a new DS-160. The DS-160 can be unlocked by the consular officer for purposes of making certain changes, but the passport number in the CEAC (Consular Electronic Application Center) cannot be changed. The applicant should be able to enter the consular section, but should be sure to bring both the new and old passports to the interview. The consular staff can enter remarks concerning the new passport information on the DS-160, and consular officers should be able to process the case using the new passport.
Finally, the Visa Office advises that applicants use Internet Explorer 11 (or higher) or Chrome browsers. Safari is not compatible with the application. To avoid loss of data, it is recommended that applicants save the application at the end of each page. Since incomplete applications are stored by the system for 30 days only, it is also advisable that applicants save their applications to their own servers.