I am a software engineer. I am re-applying for a B1/B2 US visa (expired 4 months ago). I left my regular job 5 months ago and I'm working on my own startup (not registered yet). What should I write in the DS-160 form's primary occupation field, as there is no option for self-employed? If I choose computer science as my choice of primary occupation, then what employer details should I provide?

  • 4
    You’re still a software engineer and you’re working out if your house? Doesn’t it have an address? Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 11:23
  • That said be careful about your application. Approval rates for unemployed people are typically low, regardless of your previous good immigration history. I should know, my second US visa renewal (third application) in 1999 was denied. Only difference from prior successes? I was just done with college and newly unemployed. If you’re from a developing country be very careful. Commented Aug 5, 2018 at 12:56

3 Answers 3


The primary occupation options (as far as I remember/could find, feel free to edit if I missed any) are the following broad catagories:

  • Retired
  • Agriculture
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Computer Science
  • Culinary/FoodServices
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Government
  • Homemaker
  • Legal Profession
  • Medical/Health
  • Military
  • NaturalScience
  • Physical Sciences
  • Religious Vocation
  • Research
  • Social Science
  • Student
  • Not Employed
  • Other

If you choose 'Other' you will have to provide an explanation, but in your case i.e. software engineer it will not make a material difference if you select Computer Science or Engineering.

You can mention your Present Employer as self-employed and if you work out of your home or a specific location mention that address. The details of what you do as being self-employed, you can mention in the 'Briefly describe your duties' section.

A suggestion: should you consider registering your business before this application and how will this period (working while business isn't registered) be reflected on the employment history for future visa purposes, consult an attorney on that.

Sample DS-160



You’re still a software engineer and you’re working out of your house. It has an address? Therein lies your answer.

  • 3
    Feel free to remove the answer, I couldn’t care less. Unnecessary verbosity is of no use when being succinct does the job. Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 4:17

It is difficult to lie especially for this kind of visa application. I think one of the best move is that you register your business to prove that it is legal and true. Statements without proof could be difficult to attest.

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