What is Form DS-260
Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application, is a form used by individuals seeking to apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad. The form is specifically used for visa categories that lead to permanent residency in the United States, such as family-sponsored and employment-based immigrant visas.
Key points about Form DS-260:
- Immigrant Visas: Form DS-260 is used for applying for immigrant visas, which allow individuals to enter the United States as lawful permanent residents (green card holders).
- Consular Processing: Individuals who are outside the United States and have an approved immigrant petition (such as Form I-130 or Form I-140) typically need to go through consular processing to receive an immigrant visa before they can travel to the U.S. as a permanent resident.
- Online Application: Form DS-260 is submitted electronically through the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) on the U.S. Department of State’s website.
- Personal and Biographical Information: The form collects information about the applicant’s personal history, biographical details, education, work experience, and family members.
- Immigration History: Applicants are required to provide information about their immigration history, including any previous travel to the U.S. and any prior visa applications.
- Supporting Documentation: Applicants may be required to provide supporting documentation, such as passport information, civil documents (birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.), police certificates, and more.
- Application Fee: There is a nonrefundable application fee associated with Form DS-260. The fee amount can vary based on the immigrant visa category.
- Affidavit of Support: For most family-sponsored immigrant visas, the petitioner (sponsor) is required to submit an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) to demonstrate financial sponsorship for the applicant.
- Consular Interview: After submitting Form DS-260, applicants will be scheduled for a consular interview at the U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country. The interview is a crucial step in the visa application process.
- Medical Examination: In most cases, applicants are required to undergo a medical examination by an approved panel physician before their visa interview.
- Visa Issuance: If the visa application is approved, the applicant will receive an immigrant visa in their passport. They can use this visa to travel to the United States.
It’s important to carefully follow the instructions provided on the U.S. Department of State’s website when completing and submitting Form DS-260. Each immigrant visa category has its own specific requirements and documentation. If you have concerns or questions about the Form DS-260 process, consider seeking advice from the U.S. consulate or embassy or consulting with an immigration attorney.
Who must file Form DS-260?
Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application, must be filed by individuals who are seeking to apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad. This form is generally required for applicants in immigrant visa categories that lead to permanent residency in the United States. Here are some common situations where an individual must file Form DS-260:
Family-Sponsored Immigrant Visas:
- Beneficiaries of approved Form I-130 petitions (Petition for Alien Relative) who are applying for family-sponsored immigrant visas, such as immediate relatives of U.S. citizens (parents, spouses, unmarried children under 21).
Employment-Based Immigrant Visas:
- Beneficiaries of approved Form I-140 petitions (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) who are applying for employment-based immigrant visas.
Diversity Visa Lottery Winners:
- Individuals who have won the Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery and are applying for immigrant visas through the Diversity Visa Program.
Special Immigrant Visas:
- Individuals who are eligible for special immigrant visas, such as certain religious workers, Afghan and Iraqi translators, and other eligible categories.
Immediate Relatives of U.S. Citizens:
- Spouses, children (unmarried and under 21), and parents of U.S. citizens who are eligible to apply for immigrant visas based on their immediate relative status.
Fiancé(e) of U.S. Citizens:
- Some fiancé(e)s of U.S. citizens who are required to go through consular processing before entering the U.S. to marry their U.S. citizen petitioner and apply for adjustment of status.
Other Immigrant Visa Categories:
- Individuals applying for immigrant visas in other categories, such as certain international broadcasters, returning residents, and more.
It’s important to note that the specific immigrant visa category and circumstances will determine whether Form DS-260 is required. After receiving an immigrant visa petition approval from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), applicants will typically receive instructions from the National Visa Center (NVC) on how to complete and submit Form DS-260 online through the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) on the U.S. Department of State’s website.
Each immigrant visa category has its own requirements, documentation, and instructions. If you have specific questions about your eligibility or the visa application process, consider seeking guidance from the U.S. consulate or embassy or consulting with an immigration attorney.
How to fill out Form DS-260?
Filling out Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application, is an important step in the process of applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to fill out Form DS-260:
Step 1: Access the CEAC System: Access the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) on the U.S. Department of State’s website. Log in using your case number, beneficiary ID, and invoice ID from the National Visa Center (NVC) or the information provided by the U.S. consulate or embassy.
Step 2: Begin a New Application: Select “IV Application” and then “DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application.” This will initiate a new application.
Step 3: Personal Information: Provide personal information about yourself, including your full name, date of birth, place of birth, and other biographical details.
Step 4: Address and Phone Number: Enter your current address, email address, and phone number. Make sure the information is accurate and up-to-date.
Step 5: Marital Status and Family Information: Answer questions about your marital status, spouse’s information (if applicable), and family members accompanying you to the U.S.
Step 6: Work/Education/Training Information: Provide details about your work, education, and training history. Include information about your current and previous employers or educational institutions.
Step 7: Previous U.S. Travel Information: Provide details about your previous trips to the United States, including dates of travel, purpose of visit, and the length of stay.
Step 8: Address History: Provide a history of your addresses for the past five years.
Step 9: Passport Information: Enter your passport information, including the passport number, issuance date, and expiration date.
Step 10: Travel Companions: If you are traveling with other family members, provide their information as well.
Step 11: U.S. Point of Contact: Provide the name and contact information of a person in the United States who can be contacted in case of emergency.
Step 12: Petition Information: Enter the petition information, including the petitioner’s name and relationship to you.
Step 13: Additional Work History: Provide any additional work history details if applicable.
Step 14: Security and Background Information: Answer questions related to security and background, including information about criminal history and security-related issues.
Step 15: Sponsor Information: Provide information about your financial sponsor in the United States, if applicable.
Step 16: Review and Submit: Review all the information you entered for accuracy. Make any necessary corrections. Once you are satisfied, submit the application.
Step 17: Print the Confirmation Page: After submission, print the confirmation page with the barcode. You will need this page for your visa interview.
It’s important to provide accurate and truthful information on Form DS-260. Any errors or inconsistencies can cause delays or issues with your visa application. If you have concerns or questions while filling out the form, consider seeking guidance from the U.S. consulate or embassy or consulting with an immigration attorney.