Avoiding DS-160 Pitfalls (NIV)

All applicants must complete the DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application. Applicants can access the DS-160 from the Consular Electronic Application Center website:  https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/.

In order to avoid delays in processing visa applications, visa applicants must ensure that the following information is correctly provided: complete name (surname, first name, middle name), passport information (the passport used in filling out the form must be the same passport presented on the day of the interview), other names (for married female applicants, type complete maiden name), purpose of trip (if the answer falls under “Other,” specify the purpose of travel in the blank provided), primary occupation (if the answer falls under “Other,” specify the occupation in the blank provided), contact person and address in the U.S., and the complete names of the applicant’s parents.

256 thoughts on “Avoiding DS-160 Pitfalls (NIV)

  1. i want to attend a conference in the usa and want to apply for the visa under B1 category..is it the right visa category since attending convention and conference falls under the b1 category.

  2. I was filling out the DS-160 application form and there were not “thank you” page with the option of “add a family member” on it, it just takes me straight to the confirmation page. Can I still add a family member who will be travelling with me? if yes, how?

    • Leah, you should see the “Thank You” page where you would have an option to create a family application. When you select this option, certain information from your application, such as destination, will automatically be imported to and displayed on a new application. Should you use this option you must create an individual application for each family member.

  3. Good Morning,

    My sister left the Philippines when she was still single; now, she’s already married. Under Family Information Relatives and US Point of Contact, what is the proper format in filling out the fields

    Surname: Married Surname
    Given Names Given Name – Maiden Name


    Surname: Maiden Surname
    Given Names: Given Name – Middle Name

    She is already using her married name on her Philippine passport.

    Please advise of correct format to use.

    • Hi Melquiades. Always refer on the name in the Philippine passport when filling out the form.

      Surname: (put the last name as per passport)
      Given Names Given Name : (put the first name and middle name as per passport)

  4. Hi,

    My family and i have already filled out and submitted our DS-160 application forms. But we DID NOT include our middle names in the Given Names. Will this be a problem?

    • Hi Anne. The first step in your visa interview is the pre-screening procedure. In this step, all details will be checked thus including the middle name. If you have submitted the DS 160 and you believe that only the middle name is missing, then no need to worry because the pre-screener will just correct it.

  5. Hi,

    I am from India. In my passport, the following information is present:

    GIven Name: Nidhi

    What should I fill in DS 160 form in case of no surname present in the passport

    • Hi Nidhi. You should put your name as below:

      Last Name: Nidhi
      Given Name: FNU

      The last name in the DS 160 cannot be blank or unknown, hence, we shall put in there your given name.

  6. An agent helped me to fill ds160 and book appointment for me but I didn’t go for interview on the sheduled day,I called them but they said I should buy another mvp and book another appointment…my problem now is that I don’t really know all the info the guy put there cos I didn’t read the papers he gave me cos I traveled hoping that I can reshedule if I dint go on the dday,now That I have learned how to fill I hav paid. For new mvp and want to fill new 160 will they still see the last one with the new one cos I know many differences will be there and the guy is no more I have use code to see if I can retrieve but noway. So what do I do sir?

    • Hi Okoli, if you are applied in U.S. Embassy-Manila and inquiring about the MRV fee or visa application fee then please know that the application fee is valid for one year after the date of actual payment; your interview must fall within the one-year validity. If you were unable to come to your interview, you can reschedule through the call center at(02) 982-5555 and (02) 902-8930 for calls within the Philippines and other countries aside from mainland United States or (703) 520-2235 for calls from mainland United Statesor online at http://www.ustraveldocs.com/ph. Please note that applicants are only allowed to reschedule twice (not including the initial appointment) without penalty. If the second rescheduling attempt is canceled, an applicant will only be allowed to reschedule a new date after a waiting period of 90 calendar days. You may wish to visit the Nonimmigant Visa website for information about the application procedure and requirements for nonimmigrant visas. Thank you.

  7. My valid US visa is in my maiden name while my current passport is already in my married name. Can I still travel to the US using my valid visa? If so, what should I do to prevent any complications that may arise? Thank you.

    • Hi Roxanne. A nonimmigrant visa is valid for use before its expiration date provided that the visa is in good condition and has not been tampered with or altered in any way. If your valid visa is in your maiden name and your current passport is in your married name, you may present to the U.S. immigration officer at the port of entry a legal document, such as marriage certificate printed on the Philippine National Statistics Office security paper, attesting to the change of the surname every time you travel to the United States. Should you wish to have a visa in your married name, you must reapply for a visa by complying with the procedures provided at the Nonimmigrant Visas website. Please remember that a visa may only be used to apply for entry to the United States. Visa holders are subject to inspection at the port of entry by United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers who have the sole authority to allow or deny anyone admission. Thank you.

  8. Hi, I have accidently put FNU instead of putting my actual first name and middle name onto my DS-160. I have scheduled an appointment at the embassy, so if I rang them up on Monday morning, will they be able to rectify my mistake? Or would I still be alright going to the visa interview and it be changed through my correct name on my passport?

    Thank you!

    i tried three different computers, different browsers and its same.
    can u help me pls? thank you

    • Hi Zuzana. If you need assistance in your application process, you may contact the call center at (02) 982-5555 or (02) 902-8930. The call center is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, Manila time, except on U.S. and Philippine holidays. Thank you.

  10. My wife’s current passport was issued under her maiden surname, which has changed after she married me. The following questions regard my visa application. In DS-160, field “Travel Companions Information / Surnames of Person Traveling With You”, which surname should be informed: as in passport (maiden), or current, married name? What about the field “Family Information: Spouse”?

  11. Hi,

    My application for a tourist visa was denied last year bec. i was a student that time, and i only have a partime job but didn’t put it in my application. My problem is about my statement last year, when consul ask me about my personal life if i have children, and accidentally said “No i don’t have”. I want to reapply again and wanted to say i have 2 daughters. What should i say to the consul if ask me again and if i say yes i do have it might be affect on my application for being inconsistent. right? what should i say? Please Help…

    • Hi Kriss. You may legally reapply and speak to a different officer at any time. However, please be aware that all officers must make their decisions based on the same U.S. immigration law. Rest assured that all visa applications are given full consideration at the time of the interview.

      In addition, consular Officers often use the information in the DS-160 application to process the visa application and, combined with a personal interview, determine an applicant’s eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa. When preparing your application, you must provide accurate information in your DS-160 application. Be prepared to answer the questions asked by the consular officer. The consular officer is likely to be interested to know your purpose of travel, how long you intend to stay in the United States, your contacts in the U.S., and your ties to your home country that would compel you to depart the U.S. after your visit. Do not lie to a consular officer. Lying has serious consequences and can make you permanently ineligible for the visa. Applicants should be honest in discussing their residence (at home and abroad), employment, and family relationships with the consular officer. Thank you.

  12. Hi,
    I have a campus job, and I’m still doing it. That’s the first job I have, so I am wondering how should I answer the question that if I’m previous employed? Should I provide the employment information of the current job I have? When I submit the documents to renew my F1 visa, do I need to include an employment letter? (I’m a full time student.)


    • Hi Siyuan. If you have a previous employment, other than your current job (your campus job), then you just need to put that you have no previous employer. You put your current job on the Current Work/Education and just indicate there too that you are also a full time student. You may bring your Employment Letter but the Consular Officer may or may not look at it.

  13. Hi I just finished my non immigrant visa application. I had put my previous ssn when I was a green card holder since it was part of the application. Will this be a disadvantage? Not sure if it was necessary but I had put it in there as it was part of the question.


    • Hi Vanessa. Most questions in the DS 160 are mandatory and must be answered in the spaces provided. If you do not complete a mandatory question, the system will display an error message and require you to answer the question before continuing with the application. If you do not answer questions that apply to your circumstances and/or purpose of travel, the system will not accept your application.

      Consular Officers often use the information in the DS-160 application to process the visa application and, combined with a personal interview, determine an applicant’s eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa. When preparing your application, you must provide accurate information in your DS-160 application. Thank you.

      For more information about DS 160, please check our website:

      DS-160: Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application
      DS-160: Frequently Asked Questions

  14. Hello. Good Day. I applied for Non-Immigrant Visa last June 2014 and unfortunately I was denied. My problem is how can I indicate that I have a regular/full time job and a part time job so that the Consular Officer has an idea that I have compelling reasons to come back here in the Philippines. I hope you will help me coz’ I really want to visit the US and my relatives there. Thanks and Godspeed.

    • Hi Michael. You will need to provide the information about your job in your DS-160 application and during the interview with the consular officer. To qualify for the nonimmigrant visitor visa, you should be able to demonstrate sufficiently strong familial, social, professional and economic ties to a country outside the United States that would compel departure after your temporary stay in the United States. Ties are various aspects of one’s life that bind one to his/her country of residence, like one’s profession, employment, social and family relationships, and properties. All of these factors are considered in the process, and U.S. immigration law requires that the visa application be refused if these strong ties are not apparent. Information about nonimmigrant visas is provided in http://manila.usembassy.gov/demonstrating-ties.html. Thank you.

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