PI Advice

PI Advice

SCHEDULE YOUR US EMBASSY APPOINTMENT

Due to the US Embassy delays, we strongly recommend that you schedule your appointment at the US Embassy as soon as we have provided you with your DS number.


Please find herein the instructions on setting up your US Embassy appointment and completing the DS-160 form for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicants.

Download DS-160 Guide | DS-160 FAQs

Step 1 - Get familiar with the US Embassy website and complete the online DS-160 form.

Step 2 - Make an appointment at the US Embassy. (Locate your closest US embassy: www.usembassy.gov).

Please do not purchase plane tickets until you have received your visa. Visa applicants should never assume their application will be automatically approved.

Step 3 - Get all of your documentation and applications ready. Requirements vary but you will usually need:

You will usually need:

  • A valid passport (valid at least for 6 months after the end of your program)
  • One picture taken within the last 6 months
  • DS-2019 and DS-7002 forms
  • Proof of payment of application fees
  • Documents to prove your family ties and financial status in your country
  • A self-addressed post envelope to return your passport should you receive a visa (one per family)

Step 4 - Bring your application and supporting documents to the U.S. embassy on the day of your appointment.

Once you have passed through the security checkpoint you will be allowed to enter the interview waiting room. Be prepared to wait up to two hours from the time you arrive to being interviewed by the consular officer. First you will submit your application, passport and supporting documents. Then you will be interviewed by a consular officer who will take your finger-scans and evaluate your application to determine if you qualify for a visa. If you qualify for a visa, the officer will take your passport and envelope.

For security reasons, no luggage, electronic or photographic equipment can be admitted into the building.

Step 5 -Typical visa processing time.

If your request for a visa is approved, it will be printed in your passport and returned to you in the envelope you submitted to the consular officer. Processing time for visas is a minimum of 2 to 3 days. Some applications may require additional administrative processing that could take at least several weeks. Since the application process cannot be accelerated, please apply well in advance of your travel date. Do not purchase plane tickets until you have received your visa. Visa applicants should never assume their application will be automatically approved.

IMPORTANT REMINDER FOR J-1 INTERNS AND TRAINEES:

It is important to keep in mind that are not applying for a working position but for an internship or training program. You will not be earning a salary but receiving a stipend!



FAQs Regarding Online DS-160 for Nonimmigrant Visa Applicants

Where can I find the DS-160?

Click on the following link: https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/

Are all fields on the DS-160 mandatory?

Most fields on the DS-160 are mandatory. You may leave fields marked “Optional” blank. Some fields may also give you the option to select “Does Not Apply”. If that field does not apply to you, you may mark the box next to “Does Not Apply.” All other fields must be completed: the application will not allow you to submit a form with any mandatory fields left blank. In this instance, an error message will be displayed and you will be required to complete the field before continuing with the application. If you do not answer questions that apply, your form may also be rejected.

What happens if I need to step away in the middle of data entry? How do I save my application?

The DS-160 will “time out” approximately 20 minutes after the application has been idle. The “time out” is designed to protect your privacy. If the application times out, all the data that has been entered will be lost. In order to guard against possible “time out” issues you should save the application at regular intervals while you are completing the application. To save the application, click the “Save” button at the bottom center of the application. Clicking save will temporarily save your application. In order to permanently save your application, select the “Save Application to File” button. Then, click the “Save” button on the File Download window. Identify a place on your computer to save the application file, browse to that location, and click the “Save” button on the “Save As” window. The system will download your application to the specified location. Once the download is complete you can click “Close” to return to the application. You can then use the “Upload a Previous Application” option on the “Getting Started” page to upload the data that you have already entered.

The DS-160 gives me an option to upload my photo. Do I need to do this to complete the application?

Although the DS-160 does have an option to upload your own photo, at this time, the US Embassy in Mexico City captures photographs of each applicant without additional charge at the interview. There is no need to upload your photo or to pay anyone else to take a photo of you.

Why did the edits I made from the review page not save?

In order for data changes made from the review page links to save, you must use the buttons at the bottom of each page to navigate, instead of the browser's back/forward buttons or the buttons along the left of the screen.

Should I save my application before I submit it?

YES! You should, if you can, save your application locally (to either your hard drive or a CD) before you submit your application. Saving your application locally is beneficial in two ways. First, if your application is rejected by the Embassy for being incomplete, i.e., your application contains non-responsive answers or you failed to answer a critical question, you will be able access your saved application data, correct the non-responsive or incomplete answers and submit the corrected application without having to complete an entirely new application. Second, if you are a frequent visa applicant, you can update your saved application the next time you wish to apply for a visa and submit the updated application. This will save you time by not having to reenter information that has not changed since the last time you applied. Refer to question 4 on how to save your application.

Do I bring my entire application with me to the interview, or do I just bring the confirmation page (bar code sheet)?

You should not bring your entire application. Your confirmation page is all that is needed to retrieve your application data. The confirmation page is the small sheet with the bar code that you print out after completing and saving your application. You must bring the confirmation page with you during all phases of the application process. Without the confirmation page, it may not be possible to access your application and process your visa case.

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