New online US visa application process
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Starting today, February 1, 2010, the US Embassy in New Delhi, and 4 Consulates in India have launched a new online visa form submission process for all visa applicants. The new application form, called DS-160, is launched in India only, the other major US embassy websites do not have any update and are continuing to use the old system of separate DS-156, DS-157 and DS-158 forms. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 75 minutes per response, including time required for searching existing data sources, gathering the necessary documentation, providing the information and/or documents required, and reviewing the final collection.
We tried the application, and found it to be user friendly and helpful with help provided on the right hand side of the page. One interesting help note is, “Help: Date of Birth If day or month is unknown, enter as shown in passport.” Obviously you need to write the date of birth as given in your passport! If the passport does not match your birth certificate or there is an error, please get that fixed before you apply for the visa. If you scan and upload the photo that you will carry for the visa interview, the system can indicate whether or not the photo meets the required specifications. As may be expected of a system for a country that leads the F-1 and H1 visa applicants, the system was slow, and carried a message, “This application has been experiencing intermittent connectivity issues. Please save your work frequently.(121)”. So completing the online form well in advance is a good idea.
We noticed one item that is going to cause a lot of headache is the field where you need to supply your ‘Full Name in Native Alphabet’. That was much easier to do in a paper based application. Here is a suggested way to do this,
1. visit www.google.com/transliterate
2. select your native language, say Telugu.
3. Type your full name in English.
4. If you typed Raghu Akkapeddi, the tool will transliterate for you as రఘు అక్కపెద్ది .
5. If there are multiple ways to write your name, you will be prompted to choose the right one.
6. Copy and paste to the textbox in the visa application.
If your language is not supported by the google tool, you can find other websites where you can do this for free.
If you have a question, you can ask in the “Student Visa” section at the app2us.com forums. If you find our blog posts useful please be sure to spread the word to your friends.