Made a mistake on Form DS-160 -- how do I fix it after it's submitted?

Question:

You will have to create a new form, but can retrieve your old information.

I am applying for a visa to the U.S., and successfully completed my State Department Form DS-160 online. But today I was looking at the printout, and I saw that I had reversed the numbers on my birthday, saying I was born on the 21st instead of the 12th. I don't see any way to go back and redo the form. Help!

Answer:

Don't panic. You are not the first person to have faced a similar problem! Although it's true that the State Department has not provided a way to go back and change an already-submitted DS-160, you can go back online to submit a new, corrected DS-160, print the new confirmation page, and bring that to your interview at the consulate or embassy.

This may be less work than you think. First, check how many days have gone by since you submitted the original application. If it is less than 30 days, go back to the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website, www.ceac.state.gov. Click on DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. Click the tab for “Retrieve an Application.” Hopefully you took note of the application ID number from the DS-160 you submitted earlier, because you’ll need to enter that application ID number in the box. Then click the Retrieve Application button. Next, you’ll have to answer the security questions to get back into your form. Once you’re in, correct your mistake, then review everything, then electronically sign and submit the application You will be given a new confirmation and bar code to print and bring to your interview. 

If more than 30 days have gone by since you submitted the application with the mistake on it, you can upload that application back into CEAC – if you saved it on to your computer or other storage device. Go back to the CEAC website, click on DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, choose the consulate or embassy where you will be applying from the drop-down menu, and then click the "Upload an Application" tab. Then choose the location of your saved file, and click the Upload Data button. After making your changes, save and submit the new application. You will be given a new confirmation and bar code. 

If you never saved your original application, and it’s been more than 30 days since you submitted it, you’ll need to start over again. Go back on the CEAC website and fill in a new DS-160. Print the confirmation page for this new application.

You might be wondering which application the visa officer at the consulate or embassy will be looking at when you go for your interview. If you used the first (incorrect) DS-160 submission to schedule your visa appointment or pay the MRV (visa application) fee already, you will need to bring to your interview the confirmation pages from both the new (corrected) and the original (incorrect) DS-160. If you haven’t scheduled your interview or payed your MRV fee yet, you’re probably OK just bringing the confirmation page from the newer, corrected DS-160. (You can bring the old one too just in case, but make sure you mark it as the old one.)

It’s not a good idea to show up for your interview expecting the visa officer to make a correction to the DS-160 at that time. Usually the visa officer will end the interview and make you submit a new DS-160. Most of the time this will require you to reschedule the interview for another day.

If the mistake you made on your DS-160 is small, you might be able to correct it during an interview. It has to be a mistake about something not very important, however. Your mistake about your birthday is not a small mistake, because it affects what will be printed on your visa. Other mistakes can affect the visa officer’s decision whether to give you a visa. But a visa officer at the interview may be willing to let you correct a mistake that won’t matter very much, such as a misspelling on an address of a company you worked for five years ago. If you have any doubt about the importance of the mistake, it’s best to submit a corrected DS-160 before you go to the interview.

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