DS160 Form for F1 Visa
DS160 Form for F1 Visa
Visa Assistance F1 Visa

DS160 Form- Application, Documents, Fees, Validity

Latika Sharma
US F1 Visa
US F1 Visa 

Students with big dreams have this unified desire to have their further studies completed in the USA. But the first hurdle to securing your ticket to the US is the formidable DS160 form.

The tedious, extremely demanding, and technical glitch-filled process of filling up the DS 160 form has crushed many journies to study in the US even before they could begin.

Here, we will tell you every important detail about filling up the DS160 form perfectly so you can do it yourself.

Or allow Zolve to take care of your DS160 form while you just relax.

Here's everything you need to know about your DS160 student visa form:

  1. What Is a DS160 Form and Why Is It Necessary?
  2. What Is the Fee for the DS160 Form?
  3. What Are the Required Documents for the DS160 Form?
  4. How to Fill out the DS160 Form?
  5. What’s the Average Process Time for the DS160 Form?
  6. FAQs

What Is a DS160 Form and Why Is It Necessary?

The Non immigrant Visa Application also known as the DS160 form is the prerequisite for applying to a range of visa types to the US including but not limited to student visas.

To keep it simple, a DS160 form tells the US government who you are, why are you coming over to their country, how long you intend to stay, and some security details about you.

Once satisfied, you'll be cleared to go for any visa application you want.

What Is the Fee for the DS160 Form?

Here's the thing, the form is filled online and hence it's free. But, other payments follow after that if you keep passing through the visa sanctioning stages.

  • SEVIS Fee
  • Visa Category Fee
  • Visa Issuance Fee


Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is an online system for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that keeps information on every student and exchange visitor to the country, as a student who desires to study there must pay the SEVIS fee which currently is $3501 (approximately INR 28,000).

Remember that you must pay this fee BEFORE attempting to fill out your DS160 form with a good 20-30 days margin as well since the receipts of the fee are sent to you by post which may take 15-20 days.

This receipt WILL be required later, read on.

Visa Category Fee

Student visas are non-petition-based visas (F visas, M visas)  and their price is $1852 (approx INR 15,000), this is the price you'll be paying right after filling up your DS160 form and while applying for the Visa application.

Visa Issuance Fee

Now this fee may be there, or maybe not, it all depends on the reciprocity terms between the two countries, but if it is present, the fee shall vary by visa category.

What Are the Required Documents for the DS160 Form?

F1 Visa Document
F1 Visa Document

Here is the brief but complete list of all the necessary documents you'll need while filling out the DS160 form:

  • A valid passport
  • Your I-20 certificate will have your SEVIS ID, you'll need this while filling out the DS160
  • SEVIS fee receipt, a printout of the confirmation screen after you submit the DS160 form.
  • Your travel itinerary, if you have already made some plans for your movements and duration in the US, you'll need to provide this information else it's ok to use approximate dates but do keep your I-20 details and your program end date as well!
  • Any US travel history shall also be demanded. If you have visited the US before or any other international travel then you'll need to provide your last five visits to US information and/or your last five international travel history.
  • A resume/CV isn't usually required but when they ask for your employment and training history, then it'll do you wonders.
  • Keep a passport-size digital photo of yours with a plain background, don't forget to understand all the photo requirements before clicking one.
  • Financial documents like your bank statements, tax returns, pay slips, mutual funds, etc.
  • Property documents
  • Family documents like your birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc.

How to Fill out the DS160 Form?

The process starts by first arriving at the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website, now a few things to keep in mind:

  • It's an online submission, which should take 90 minutes of your time.
  • Select the current location and note down your application ID on the next page, afterward, you'll be asked to provide an answer to a security question, note it as well, and don't lose them!
  • Keep saving your advancement in the form as the website times out every 20 minutes.

And now, let's take a look at the various steps to fill out the DS160 form:

Personal Information

Enter your name, DOB, marital status, nationality, passport details, Aadhar number, and yes your US social security number or taxpayer ID in case you have them.

Travel Information

Explain your travel plans, the purpose of your trip, arrival and departure dates -  you can provide estimated dates if you aren't sure, and the US address you'll stay at.

Travel Companions

This only includes your family members, friends, or an organized tour group. After the "thank you" page when you fill out the DS160 form, you'll see an option to create a family application for your closed ones. This will fill up some details automatically but still, every family member will need to fill out individual DS160 forms.

Previous US Travel

In case you ever visited the US before you'll need to provide those dates and details, furthermore, if you were ever denied a visa or if you ever filed an immigrant petition with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you'll need to indicate that as well.

Address and Contact

Now, this part seems straightforward enough but it's not, you see, not only you are supposed to provide your current address and phone number with email address(es) but also your social media accounts, user IDs, and/or handles (no passwords though).

Passport Information

Apart from the usual information about your passport, you'll also be asked for a "Passport Book Number" which is also called sometimes an "Inventory Control Number", Indian passports don't have that, so select "Not Applicable/Does Not Apply" for it. In case of ever getting your passport lost or stolen further information shall be demanded.

US Point of Contact

Here, they'd want someone in the US who can verify your identity, if you don't know anyone, just put down the institute or university name.


Basic details of your parents and any family members or relatives who are currently residing in the US. If you are married, you'll also have to provide your spouse's name, DOB, nationality, and home address.

Work, Education, and Training

You'll be filling out your occupation, educational background, and your employment history for the past 5 years. In case you're a part of any military group, professional organizations, or charities, you'll have to mention that too.

Security and Background Info

There are going to be 25 questions in this section regarding your security and background, all need to be answered either via a "Yes" or a "No". Please read the questions carefully before answering.

Your Photo

As mentioned earlier, check out the instructions for picture submission, you'll get to crop it later when you upload it. However, you'll need a physical passport-size photo (keep it the same as the one you submit in the DS160 form) for your visa interview.

Review and Submit

You'll be asked to review everything before submitting the form and do it properly. Then confirm your location so your application is sent to the appropriate US Embassy or Consulate. Then go through the terms and conditions and finally submit the form.

After that, you'll hit "next" to arrive at the final confirmation page, take a print of this page since you'll be presenting it to the consular officials at the time of your interview.

What’s the Average Process Time for the DS160 Form?

DS160 form submission happens online so there's no actual processing time but yeah, the filling process demands an exhaustive amount of information that goes back to your teenage, I'm not even kidding to you folks, so collecting all that data takes time.

And then there's the meddling website that lags, glitches, and times out often, so you'll be spending much more than the expected 90 minutes. The good news is that your entries can get saved so the next time you arrive to fill up your DS160, you'll start from where you left off!

But to do that don't lose your application ID and the answer to the security question you gave.


Q1 How long is the DS 160 valid after the appointment?

There isn't a fixed expiration date but it is highly recommended to be done with your DS160 form within 30 days.

Q2 Can my answers be in my native language while filling up DS160?

No, you can only use the English language using English characters only.

Q3 Are all questions need to be answered in the DS160 form?

You can choose to not answer the optional questions or may select "Does not apply" if the questions are irrelevant to your situation wherever applicable. But except for them, all other questions are a must!

Q4 Are there even more forms that go along with DS160?

No. There are no other forms, just the DS160 form suffices for students and visitors.

Q5 Do I need to bring my entire DS160 application or just the confirmation page for the interview?

You don't need to bring your entire application, the confirmation page is good enough.


Hey, congrats to you, you now know everything to successfully submit your DS160 and be ready to take flight for a better future.

As we see, DS160 isn't difficult but demands your patience and preparation, now nobody in today's day and age has all that much time or composure to type for hours before a lagging screen.

That's why people who want a quick and easy (and safe) way on their road to a great US education should get Zolve with their DS160 assistance and everything afterward. Trust us, it's way less hassle this way.

Anyway, happy journey.


  1. https://www.shiksha.com/studyabroad/sevis-fees-applycontent5990
  2. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/study/student-visa.html
  3. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/photos.html