All applicants for a U.S. nonimmigrant visa at a consular post quickly become familiar with the DS-160, online nonimmigrant visa application form, which is available on the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website. The form may seem fairly innocuous and many employers leave employees to fend for themselves to obtain their “visa stamp” from the selected U.S. Consulate or Embassy.
Employers and employees, however, should be aware of some underlying aspects of the DS-160. Below are some examples of a few:
These points alone should convince an employing petitioner to proceed with caution to provide zero oversight of the DS-160 process. Simple errors by an employee in outlining their duties, job title, worksite, employer’s corporate name, etc. can lead to additional inquiries/misunderstandings related to discrepancies between the information in the DS-160 and the USCIS documentation.
Further, the DS-160 is a data mining form for fraud review and often questions are added to the form that may require employer review. For example, in October of 2019, E visa applicants were faced with the following question:
Has the principal Treaty Trader or Investor already been issued a visa?
A potential E employee of a large multinational company will typically have no clue how to respond. Recently, at least one consular post indicated that the reply could be “yes,” and then insert the applicant’s name and date of birth – but that is one post. In addition, there are General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) restrictions to consider for E visa applicants in Europe.
Further, now it appears that the DS-160 has activated the questions below, which must be answered or the form will not be able to be submitted. In the past, the questions might be left blank, but the form could be submitted.
In some cases, the form may ask one question in the review stage, but post submission of the DS-160, the question on the DS-160 itself changes. See the example below:
Review Question – Do you wish to provide information about your presence on any other websites or applications you have used within the last five years to create or share content (photos, videos, status updates, etc.)?
Post DS-160 Submission Question – Have you used additional social media platforms in the last five years?
Do you wish is a very different question from “have you used.” Thus, double-checking a print-out/scan of the actual DS-160 before submission for accuracy is essential.