Come January 19 and applicants applying for United States Visa will have to fill out just one form- ‘DS-160’ instead of the three forms. The web-based Non-Immigration Visa (NIV) application will incorporate all the existing NIV applications into one interactive online form, Janice C. Anderson, Vice Consul, informed.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, consul officials said the form will come into force from January 19 across the country. This means that for all NIV visa appointments beginning February 1, applicants will be required to fill out DS-160 form, Fredric W. Stern, NIV Chief informed.

The DS-160 form will replace NIV forms DS-156, DS-157, DS-158, DS0156E and DS-156K.With the new form, the applicant will be required to upload a visa photograph, according to the required specifications and submit the form via the Internet. “Earlier the applicant was required to print and carry all forms and confirmation pages but now they would just have to carry one confirmation page,” Ms. Anderson said. The form also has a ‘family or group’ feature where common fields for members of same family would be automatically filled in, she said.

While the procedure is less cumbersome compared to the earlier one, consul officials advice applicants to save the form regularly as it will ‘time out’ in approximately 20 minutes after the application has been idle. “Keep clicking the save button in the File Download window and keep saving the application file,” Ms. Anderson advised.

As the form is web-based, the application can be revised and improved as necessary. “In case you can’t finish the application in one go, save it and then upload the saved application at a later time,” she said. The completed application form will then generate a barcode, which should be printed using a laser printer only, officials advised. The final confirmation page with this barcode should be then carried for the interview.

Apart from the changed form, the remaining procedure is the same. Applicants have to continue to use VFS to schedule appointments and HDFC to pay fees. In future, applications could be pre-processed and pre-screened before an applicant’s interview, reducing processing delays, Mark A Leoni, Consular Chief said. Currently, the form is already in use in eight countries and plans are on to introduce it world-wide by April 2010.

The form can be found at ‘ceac.state.gov/genniv’; ‘Hyderabad.USConsulate.gov’; VFS website and ‘Travel.State.gov’.