The United States Department of State's new DS-160 visa
application form came into effect last week. Form DS 160 is
required for all US nonimmigrant visa applications. The new form is
almost identical to the previous version, except that it now
contains more security features to ensure the form was signed and
submitted by the applicant. The new rules are very strict about who
can and cannot sign the form. As per these new rules, attorneys,
their staff members or in-house counsel and their staff members are
not permitted to sign forms on behalf of visa
More specifically, the applicant must electronically sign the
DS-160 form by clicking the "Sign Application" button at
the end of the form. When doing so, it is key that the applicant
click "Sign Application" and submit the DS-160 form from
his or her individual computer, as the IT staff at the US State
Department will be checking the IP address used to sign and submit
the DS-160 form to make sure it corresponds to the individual visa
The following problem arises for outside or in-house counsel:
how do you handle processing such applications for high-level visa
applicants (e.g., executives, managers, performers, athletes and
their family members) who do not have the time (on average at least
one hour) to fill out these lengthy visa application forms?
For employers, attorneys and their staff, we recommend the
following course of action to comply with these new DS 160
electronic signature requirements:
Obtain written consent, such as an email confirmation, to
create an individual account for each visa applicant;
Create an individual account (user name and password) for each
Fill out the form for applicant, saving the form as a draft
version on applicant's individual account;
Once form is ready for submission, with visa applicant on
phone, have applicant log in, retrieve draft form, review carefully
all information on the form, click "Sign Application"
button and submit form; and
Have applicant forward DS-160 submission confirmation page to
representative to secure visa appointment.
Note that submitting an application containing any false or
misleading statements may result in the permanent refusal of a visa
or denial of entry into the United States. All declarations made in
the application are made under penalty of perjury. Thus, it is not
advisable to sign the DS-160 form on behalf of the applicant under
any circumstance except when a parent or legal guardian signs for a
minor child or a disabled person.
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The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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