Do You Have a Telecode That Represents Your Name? | Answering the DS-160 Question

The DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application) form is a critical step in the US visa application process. One question that might confuse some applicants is: “Do you have a telecode that represents your name?” Let’s break down what telecodes are and how to answer this question correctly.

What are Telecodes?

Telecodes are four-digit numerical codes designed to represent characters found in non-Roman alphabets, such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Arabic. They were primarily used in older communication systems like telegraphs to transmit names and messages in those languages.

Why the DS-160 Asks About Telecodes

The US immigration system still maintains some legacy systems that might have used telecodes in the past. By asking this question, they ensure the correct representation of your name, especially if it utilizes characters from a non-Roman script.

How to Answer the Telecode Question in Your DS-160

For the vast majority of applicants, the answer to this question is NO. Here’s why:

  • Roman Alphabet: If your name utilizes characters from the Roman alphabet (Latin alphabet), you most likely do not have a telecode representing your name.
  • Modern Technology: Current systems are sophisticated enough to handle names directly in non-Roman scripts. There’s often no need for telecode conversion.

When the Answer Might Be Yes

There are limited scenarios where you might answer “Yes” to the telecode question:

  • Older Documentation: If you have older official documents that include a telecode representing your name, you should answer “Yes” and provide the telecode.
  • Specific Names: Some names in certain non-Roman scripts might have standard telecode representations. It’s best to consult with your embassy or consulate if you’re unsure.

How to Find Your Telecode (If Applicable)

If you do have a telecode associated with your name, here are ways to find it:

  • Older Documents: Check older passports, visas, or other official documents that might contain it.
  • Embassy or Consulate: Contact your nearest US embassy or consulate for assistance in determining if you need a telecode and how to find it.
  • Online Resources: Some limited online resources may offer telecode conversions, but use them with caution and verify their accuracy through official sources.

Key Points to Remember

  • Accuracy: The most important thing is to answer truthfully and accurately represent your name in its native form on the DS-160 application.
  • No Telecode? Do not try to create a telecode or guess a number if you don’t have one. Simply answer “No”.
  • Unsure? If you are unsure whether you need a telecode, always seek clarification from the US embassy or consulate in your country.


While the telecode question on the DS-160 form may seem a bit outdated, understanding its purpose and how to answer it correctly is important. For most applicants, the answer is a simple “No.” If you fall into the rare category where you might have a telecode, take the steps to find it and provide it in your application.

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