Made a Mistake on Form DS-160—How Do I Fix It After It's Submitted?

If you submitted State Department Form DS-160 online with a mistake in it, there are ways to fix it. Learn how, for each possible stage of the process.

By , J.D. · Tulane University Law School

When applying for a nonimmigrant (temporary) visa to the U.S., such as a visitor visa, you will need to complete State Department Form DS-160 online. Then you will print it out. But what if you're looking at the printout, and you see that you made a mistake; perhaps spelling your name wrong or reversing the numbers on your birthday?

Although the system doesn't make the methods for revising an already submitted DS-160, you can do the following (as further described below):

  • go online to submit a either a corrected or DS-160
  • print the new confirmation page, and
  • bring that to your interview at the consulate or embassy.

Why It's Important to Fix the Mistake on Your DS-160

Some minor mistakes might not be material to your application, such as a typo in the name of someone paying for your trip. However, something like a birth date or wrong name is considered a material mistake, In any case, regardless of error type, it's best to submit a corrected DS-160 before you go to the consular interview, if at all possible.

Keep in mind that the information you input into your DS-160 could end up on your printed visa. If, for example, you make a mistake about your birth date, it could end up printed incorrectly on your visa. That could result in delays in receiving your visa and cause doubts as to your identity and related problems when you actually try to use the visa for travel to the United States.

Making Corrections If You Submitted Form DS-160 Within the Last 30 Days

Dealing with the error might 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 page for the DS-160. 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.

In the next dialog box, click "Create an Application." Next, you'll have to answer the security questions to get back into your form. Once you're in, correct your mistake, look everything over carefully, then electronically sign and submit the application. You will be given a new confirmation and bar code to print and bring to your interview.

Making Corrections If You Submitted Form DS-160 More Than 30 Days Ago

If more than 30 days have gone by since you submitted the application with the mistake on it, it won't be readily available to you within the system.

However, if you saved it onto your computer or other storage device, you can upload that application back into CEAC. Go into 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, then click the "Upload an Application" tab. 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, on the other hand, you never saved your original application, you'll need to start over. Go back onto the CEAC website and fill in a new DS-160. Print the confirmation page for this new application.

How to Handle a Corrected Form DS-160 If Your Interview Hasn't Been Scheduled

If you have not yet scheduled your interview or paid the fee for the nonimmigrant visa, you're probably okay just bringing the confirmation page from the newer, corrected DS-160. (Bring the old one too, just in case, but make sure to mark it as the old one.)

How to Handle a Corrected Form DS-160 If Your Interview Has Already Been Scheduled

If you already used the first (incorrect) DS-160 submission to schedule your visa appointment or pay the visa application fee, you will need to bring the confirmation pages from both the new (corrected) and the original (incorrect) DS-160 to your interview.

If you do not discover the mistake until right before your interview, you might still have an opportunity to correct it. When checking in for your appointment, let the consular employee know that you would like to correct an error on your application. They can advise you as to whether the mistake is material to your application and how to proceed. The employee might be able to correct the error directly in the consular database. If not, some consulates have computers available for use in creating a new application. Or, they might let you leave, use a computer at a nearby location to create a new application, then come back later that day. Policies vary from consulate to consulate, depending on their local resources and workload.

It's not a good idea to show up for your visa interview expecting the visa officer to make a correction to the DS-160 at that time, however. You are the only one who can edit your DS-160. If you made a mistake that is material to your application and it is not corrected prior to your interview, you could be required to reschedule for another day, if the mistake is material to your application.

Nevertheless, even if you do not discover the mistake until right before or even during the interview, you should inform the consular officer at your first opportunity. Do not keep silent about a mistake on the DS-160 in the hopes that the consular officer will not notice. Some mistakes can affect the officer's decision whether to issue you a visa. But a visa officer at the interview might determine that some mistakes don't need correction, such as a misspelling on an address of a company you worked for five years ago.

Even if the officer requires you to reschedule your interview, that's much better than risking an allegation of fraud down the road.

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