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Common mistakes made on the DS-160 Application form
Applying for a F-1 Visa in India? Incomplete or inaccurate information provided on the DS-160 Application form can seriously impact your F-1 Visa application process.
Most questions on the DS-160 Application form are mandatory and must be filled out in the spaces provided to you. Questions marked as “optional” can be left blank and you should be sure to check “Does Not Apply” when appropriate. If you’re applying for the F-1 Visa in India, here are some things to keep in mind as you complete your DS-160 Application:
1. Biographical information must match your passport details
When you start your application, you must fill in the first section with details that match the biographical information printed in your passport. If your Indian passport has your middle name included in the ‘Given Name’ section of the passport, you must include your full given name on the DS-160 application as well.
As an Indian passport holder, you must not repeat your full name when prompted to enter the full name in native alphabet - check the ‘Does Not Apply/Technology Not Available’ box instead. Similarly, Indian passport holders must select ‘No’ when asked for a telecode that represents your full name. In rare circumstances, if your name is missing from your Indian passport, you must enter the 4-digit telecode that represents your name.
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2. Enter identification numbers only if you previously worked in the US
Indian citizens must check the ‘Does Not Apply’ box for the National Identification Number - do not enter your Aadhar Card number or PAN Card number here. If you have never lived or worked in the US before, you must leave the US SSN (Social Security Number) and ITIN (Taxpayer ID Number) fields blank and check ‘Does Not Apply’. You must complete these fields only if you have previously sought employment in the US.
3. Use your US university’s address
If you don’t know the exact address of your student dorm or accommodation, you must enter your US university’s full mailing address when prompted to enter the address where you will stay in the US. If you have friends or relatives in the US, avoid using their US address as your purpose of visiting the US is solely for academic reasons and attending a US college.
4. Maintain full transparency of previously issued US visas
If you have previously been issued a US visa, you must disclose the details in the ‘Previous U.S. Travel’ section. It does not matter if you were previously issued a different category of US visa (tourist visa, employment-based visa, etc.). Review all pages of your passport(s) to double check your US visa history - failure to provide complete and accurate information in this section can lead to an automatic rejection of your F-1 Visa application.
If you previously held a US visa, enter the red number that appears on your US visa page into the ‘Visa Number’ field. The ‘Control Number’ mentioned on the US visa page is different from your Visa Number - ensure that you are entering the correct number in this field.
5. Passport Document Number vs. Passport Book Number
Indian passports do not have a passport book number. You must leave this field blank and check the ‘Does Not Apply’ box. Enter your passport number in the ‘Passport/Travel Document Number’ field.
6. Use your DSO’s contact information as a US contact
The DS-160 application requires you to enter the contact information of an individual in the US who can verify your identity and intent to study in the US. Avoid using friends or relatives in the US and enter your US university’s Designated School Official’s (DSO) information in this section. You can find your DSO’s information in the ‘School Attestation’ section on the first page of your Form I-20.
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