The Department of State (DOS) has released a new version of the Form DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application. The DS-160 form is an online application form that is completed and submitted electronically in connection with nonimmigrant visa applications at all U.S. embassies and consulates around the world.

Individuals who have completed this form since it was introduced in 2008 and fully implemented in 2010 know that the form is quite lengthy and that the form often “times out” while the applicant is completing it, causing a loss of data and the need to start over. DOS claims that this “timing out” problem has been fixed on the new version of the DS-160. Another technical “fix” DOS indicated is coming is the ability to progress though the form without having to first complete each section. As of June 29, this fix does not appear to have been incorporated, but the ability to complete different sections of the form in any order—should this change materialize—will make the DS-160 much more user-friendly.

On the nontechnical side, the new DS-160 clarifies that the applicant—and only the applicant—must electronically sign and submit the DS-160 application. The only exceptions to this requirement are for applicants under 16 years of age and those physically incapable of completing an application. In these cases, the DS-160 may be completed and executed (i.e., electronically signed and submitted) by the applicant’s parent or guardian, or if there is no parent or guardian, by any person having legal custody of, or a legitimate interest in, the applicant.

Other changes on the new DS-160 include the addition of six new questions relating to possible grounds of inadmissibility.