Filling your DS160 is the first step in your US VISA Process and it is also the most important one. This is the form the Visa officer is going to have in front of him when you go for the interview. In this post, I am going to discuss “5” mistakes which I see people make very commonly when filling their DS160 and how you can avoid it.
- Form and document mismatch
The first mistake I see people make is putting information in the ds160 which does not match with the rest of their story or their profile. When you do this, what is going to happen is you might say something in your interview which might be the opposite of what you have written in your ds160 and this will obviously impact your chances of getting the US VISA.
Let’s take an example. There is a question in DS160 which asks you about who is sponsoring your trip. The exact questions is “person/entity paying for the trip”
So if you write ‘SELF’ there and in your interview you say that your family is sponsoring you or your company is sponsoring you, then this is going to be a problem.
Another example and a common mistake is when it comes to salary details. So if you are working, you will be asked to input your monthly salary. This should match with your salary slips or your bank statement.
So to summarize, you need to make sure that the information that you have entered your DS160 is accurate and matches with the rest of your documents and your overall profile.
- Incorrect information about passport and previous visa interview
Another mistake I see people make very commonly is trying to hide information about their passport and previous visa applications. So there are two questions that you will be asked to fill in your ds160.
The first one “Have you ever been refused a USA VISA or refused admission to the USA” and the 2nd one is “Have you ever lost a passport or had one stolen”.
If any one of the above is true then you please answer honestly and mark it as YES. And with that you will have a small box which will ask you the reason for the same. Here too a proper explanation is required. Do not write short incomplete sentences like “my passport got lost” or “my visa was denied”. Write 2 -3 lines explaning what actually happened.
There is no point hiding information or lying about these things. The VISA officer is going to see right through this. So make sure you answer this honestly and give a valid explanation.
- Incomplete work experience and work phone number
This third mistake is for people who are working and are going to put in their work details in the ds160. The first point to take care of is the work phone number, a lot of people leave this blank; please don’t do this. If you are working, you have to put in a number here. It can even be a landline number, but make sure you put in a valid number here.
The second point is work experience. There is a small para where you have to explain about your work experience, “Briefly describe your duties”.
You need to be very careful what you write in here. The description should be accurate, brief and complete. When the embassy officer reads it, he should be able to understand exactly what you do.A lot of people make the mistake of making it sound too technical and complicated which does not convey any information about your work. And to add to it, I also see people making spelling mistakes. The best way to avoid this is to write out these answers first, do a spell and grammar check and then put it in your form.
- Address mismatch in ds160
This point is the source of confusion and mistake for a lot of people. There are two types of address which are asked in your ds160 – home address and mailing address. The home address has to match with the address mentioned in your passport, even if you don’t live there anymore.
The mailing address is where your passport will be sent to you once it is stamped with the VISA, so it can be the address you currently live.
So keep it simple. And don’t mess up these addresses
- Incomplete travel information
To get the US Visa, you don’t need to book your flight and hotel in advance. But there is a section in the form which will ask you to fill your travel details. Here it basically asks you if your travel plans are finalized. The question is “Have you made specific travel plans”
I want you to know that it is completely ok to write “NO” here if your plans are tentative. The reason is if you write “YES” the form is going to ask you the exact date of travel, places, accommodation etc. Information which you might not have when you fill this form. So don’t feel pressured to put in yes here and then fill in details you might not have. It’s completely ok to keep plans tentative.
More useful resources: For more in depth preparation, book a personalised consultation session with me here https://shachimall.com/1-1/ OR take a practice interview here: https://shachimall.com/interview-preparation/