State Dept. To Deploy Web-Based Nonimmigrant Visa Application Worldwide
The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs recently announced that it plans to deploy a fully Web-based Form DS-160 (FAQs) (Nonimmigrant Visa Application) worldwide. The Visa Office said that the DS-160, the first component or module of the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC), “has been used with great success at 24 posts so far” and will be expanded in phases, with the goal of worldwide usage for all nonimmigrant visa applications, except K visas, by April 30, 2010. TheDS-160 will replace the Electronic Visa Application Form (EVAF).
The Visa Office noted that although the target completion date is still five months away, it faces a technical challenge in meeting this deployment goal, involving development and testing of new foreign language translations. Sixty-four hours of development time are required to deploy a new translation of the DS-160 at a cost of $8,000 per language, which the Visa Office noted limits how quickly the DS-160 can be deployed to posts where English is not widely spoken. On October 29, Consular Affairs approved translation of 22 languages. The Visa Office said it will monitor this process carefully and will request additional funding and resources if necessary to avoid implementation delays.
The Visa Office strongly encouraged consular posts to consider developing an outreach plan to advise applicants and other stakeholders of the CEAC implementation. Posts listed in the Visa Office’s cable have been identified as priority posts to implement the DS-160 by March 1, 2010.