Reference Document: STATE 121866, 11/09
1. Summary. As another step in our ongoing modernization of the visa application process, CA will deploy the DS-160 fully web-based nonimmigrant visa (NIV) application form worldwide. The DS-160 has been used with great success at 24 posts so far and will be expanded in phases with the goal of complete global usage for all NIVS except K’s by April 30, 2010. The DS-160 replaces the Electronic Visa Application Form (EVAF). Paragraph 5 lists first-phase posts and directs consular section managers to contact the Visa Office's Post Liaison Division (CA/VO/F/P) to inform their respective liaison officers of their planned DS-160 implementation dates. Separate messages will cover the details of employing the web-based form at posts; lessons learned from pilot posts including impacts on workflow and work requirements (particularly for locally engaged staff (LES); fraud prevention potential for web-based forms; and the DS-260 web-based immigrant visa (IV) application. End Summary.
THE FUTURE OF VISA APPLICATIONS
2. The web-based DS-160 application form, the first component or module of the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC), will provide users with the ability to review NIV application data before a visa applicant physically appears for an interview. The current DS-160 pilots have already provided feedback on the importance of collecting complete and accurate data prior to the interview.
3. The DS-160 application form combines all information previously collected on the DS-156, 157, and 158 for appropriate applicants, and the DS-3052. Applicants for "E" class treaty trader NIVs will complete the DS-160 and have to fill out a hard copy DS-156E until the DS-160E electronic form is fielded in the near future. Until further notice, K visa applicants should continue to use the DS-156 and DS-156K instead of the DS-160.
4. Our goal is to replace completely the EVAF application with the DS-160 no later than April 30, 2010. This will be done in two main phases. First phase posts are listed in paragraph five and must adopt the DS-160 prior to March 1, 2010, for all applicants, with the exception of K’s. All remaining posts not listed below should implement the DS-160 between March 1, and April 30, 2010 for all applicants, with the exception of Ks. VO has posted a checklist on CAWeb to prepare for CEAC implementation. Consular section managers should consult CAWeb information and contact their CA/VO/F/P liaison to advise when they plan to implement the DS-160. CEAC instruction is available on the Consular Application Training Center website as part of NIV 04.06.00 training [redacted]. Experience from the pilot program demonstrated that most posts can make the DS-160 transition in a matter of weeks, rather than months.
5. While the target completion date is still five months away, we face a technical challenge in meeting our deployment goal. This involves development and testing of new foreign language translations. CST requires 64 hours of development time to deploy a new translation of the DS-160 at a cost of $8,000 per language, which limits how quickly the DS-160 can be deployed to posts where English is not widely spoken.On October 29, CA approved translation of 22 languages. VO will monitor this process carefully and will request additional funding and resources if necessary to avoid implementation delays.
6. CA systems can support the world-wide use of the DS-160 within the time frame established by VO. Sometime between March and May 2010, CST anticipates an even greater level of system reliability as the new data center, ESOC East, comes on line. In order for the CEAC system to perform at full capacity, IRM needs to deploy a systems security infrastructure known as a DMZ at the new data center. IRM estimates completing this project sometime in the April/May, 2010 time frame. We will continue to keep posts updated on the progress of this effort.
7. Posts listed below have been identified as priority posts to implement the DS-160. These posts must use the DS-160 no later than March 1, 2010:
Posts not listed above must implement CEAC between March 1 and April 30, 2010. Any post which anticipates difficulty in meeting the proposed schedule should contact the appropriate liaison officer in CA/VO/F/P as soon as possible.
8. We strongly encourage posts to consider an outreach plan to advise applicants and other stakeholders of the CEAC implementation. Talking points, press guidance, and sample Powerpoint presentations are available on CA/P's intranet website [redacted]. DS-160 Worldwide Roll-Out megatalker is posted on CA Web [redacted]. Should you have any questions or need any ideas about outreach, please contact CA/P [redacted]. We also welcome any feedback on successful outreach activities you conduct.
9. For a list of Frequently Asked Questions about CEAC and to explore the DS-160 Consular Consolidated Database (CCD) reports to see what the new online form looks like, please use the following Internet link: http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/forms/forms_1342.html. This is a live link, so do not submit a test application using this form. For technical questions about the DS-160 and the CCD report, contact the CA Support Desk. For specific questions about the program contact your post's CA/VO/F/P officer.