Internet cafes and filling out the NIV Application

Ask the Consul

Q: How can I fill out the Form DS-160 to apply for a Non Immigrant Visa (NIV) and schedule my appointment without a personal computer?
Individuals who do not have a personal computer may complete Form DS-160 wherever there is an internet connection, including internet cafés.  Easy-to-follow steps on filling out the application can be accessed at:  http://georgetown.usembassy. gov/niv-interview-preparation.html.  Most internet cafés have computers, internet access, and printers that you can use to complete your electronic visa application form and print your confirmation page.  There may also be internet café employees who are able to assist you in filling out the application and obtaining an interview appointment, which can only be done online.  Several internet café operators have completed a training session on the use of the online visa appointment service and are well equipped to help applicants without personal computers.

Q: What documents do I need to have with me while I complete the DS-160?
You should have the following documents available while you complete your DS-160:

●    Passport
●    Travel itinerary, if you have already made travel arrangements.
●    Dates of your last five visits or trips to the United States, if you have previously travelled to the United States. You may also be asked for your international travel history for the past five years.
●    Résumé or Curriculum Vitae – You may be required to provide information about your current and previous education and work history.
●    Other Information – Some applicants, depending on the intended purpose of travel, will be asked to provide additional information when completing the         DS-160.

Q: Are all questions on the DS-160 mandatory?
Most questions are mandatory and must be answered in the spaces provided.  You may leave spaces blank when the questions are marked “optional.”  You may answer a question with “Does Not Apply,” when that question does not apply to you; however, all other questions must be answered.  The system will not allow you to submit an application with any mandatory questions left unanswered.  If you do not complete a mandatory question, the system will display an error message and require you to answer the question before continuing with the application.  If you do not answer questions that apply to your circumstances and/or purpose of travel, the system will not accept your application.

Q: How much does filling out the online application Form DS-160 cost?
Filling out the DS-160 is free of charge.  Scheduling an appointment online is free too.  The only fee you should have to pay when completing this portion of the application is the standard internet service fee if you use a public computer.  Any additional fees which the internet cafes charge, such as a fee for printing the confirmation page, are at the discretion of the cafés themselves.  The U.S. Embassy does not collect any fees from these cafés in exchange for the services they provide you.  Be aware of services which charge applicants a variety of fees to complete the electronic application.  Please do not fall victim to these scams.

As mentioned, several internet café operators have completed a training session on the use of the online visa appointment service.  While the training will enable internet café employees to better assist you in obtaining a NIV appointment, the U.S. Embassy has not authorized internet cafés to charge a specific fee for providing assistance to applicants obtaining appointments.

Note: When you appear at the Embassy for your interview, there is a standard fee for the visa service, currently the local equivalent of US$ 140.00.  This fee is paid to the cashier at the Embassy only prior to your interview on your scheduled appointment day.

Q: Does it affect my application negatively if I had assistance filling it out?
No.  The Embassy does not consider who filled out the application when determining one’s eligibility for a visa.  Some people who are not familiar with computers may require assistance from the internet café employees or from family members.  The café employees who attended the Embassy training are knowledgeable and trained to assist you.  If someone assists you in filling out the application, he or she must indicate so on the application.  Internet Café employees who assist you must also indicate the name of the café on your application.

It is important that you look your information over carefully before electronically signing and submitting the application yourself.  Regardless of who assists you in completing your application, you are responsible for ensuring that all of the information on the form is correct.

Be aware that under U.S. law (22 C.F.R. 41.103) you must electronically sign and submit your own application unless you qualify for an exemption.  This means that you (the applicant) must click the “Sign Application” button, even if someone else helped you fill the application out.  If someone else clicks the button instead of you, your application may not be accepted.

Q:  Do the internet cafés work for the U.S. Embassy?  
No.  The internet cafes provide a service to the public and operate as private businesses.  They are not affiliated with the Embassy.  Some Internet Café employees have been trained to fill out the new DS-160 form and can assist Non Immigrant Visa applicants. Not all internet café employees have undergone the training, but they may still assist applicants.
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“Ask the Consul” is a bi-weekly column from the U.S. Embassy answering questions about U.S. immigration law and visa issues.  If you have a general question about visa policy please email it to us at AskGeorge@state.gov.  We select questions every other week and publish the answers in Stabroek News and on our website at http://georgetown.usembassy.gov/ ask-the-consul.html.  Information about visas and travel can be viewed at http://georgetown.usembassy.gov, http://travel. state.gov, and at http://www.dhs.gov.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to prepare their own documents and avoid third-party advice. U.S. Consular rules change frequently and non-US government advisors often provide inadequate or inaccurate information.

Other than the questions we select, we DO NOT respond to questions sent to Ask the Consul.  Please contact the visa inquiries unit (email visageorge@state.gov or call 225-7965 between 8 am and 4 pm Monday through Friday) if you have questions about a specific case.