If you are applying for a permanent resident card outside of the United States, you will have to fill out form DS-260 (Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application). This form replaces the previous paper form, DS-230. It is submitted online via the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website, which makes processing your application easier and more convenient.
You must pay all required fees and submit requested financial support documents before you can access the DS-260 application.
How to Complete Form DS-260
To complete your online application, you will need your National Visa Center (NVC) case number and Invoice identification number, which you can find in the communication you received from NVC. This sample application provided by the U.S. Department of State will walk you through what the application looks like and the type of information you will need to provide.
You can expect to enter:
- Your surname (last name)/First Name/Middle Name (enter as it appears on your passport)
- Any other names you’ve been known by
- Your name as it is written in your native language
- Your gender
- Your marital status (married, divorced, widowed, etc.)
- Your date of birth
- Place of birth (city/town/province/country)
- Your nationality
- Travel document information (passport, etc.)
- Your present and previous addresses since you were 16 years old
- Your present and previous phone numbers for the past five years
- Your social media information
- Information about your spouse, parents, and children, if applicable
- Information about previous travel to the U.S.
- Information about previous work or education experience
- Your petitioners information
- Information about your background, including medical and criminal information
You will also be required to answer questions about your background, which will aid in determining your admissibility to the United States. These are yes or no questions, but keep in mind that answering yes does not necessarily exclude you from getting a visa.
Other Critical Details About Form DS-260
All fields in the application should be filled in accurately. You will not be able to proceed with the application if you leave any required fields blank. Moreover, you must provide your answers in English. Therefore you should plan to get help beforehand, if needed.
If you need additional time to complete the application, you can save it and come back later. Once submitted, print the confirmation page that populates to take to your visa interview.
Required Supporting Documents
After submitting your online application, you and any family members immigrating with you will need to provide supporting documents. These documents may include birth certificates, marriage certificates, military records, etc., and can be uploaded via the CEAC website. If these documents are not in English, you will also need to submit certified translations of them.
Processing Timeline for Form DS-260
The NVC can take between a few weeks and a few months to process your application. This timeline will depend on the petition type and the timely receipt of all required documents. An immigration lawyer can help you prepare the correct documents and guide you through the process, minimizing confusion and speeding things up.
Preparing for Your Immigration Interview
Once your application is accepted, the NVC will send you a letter in the mail with the details for your visa interview. This letter will give specific instructions on how to prepare for the interview, including what to bring with you. You can also prepare by reviewing the pre-interview instructions for your country.
In general, you will need to do the following.
Get a Medical Examination With an Embassy-Approved Doctor
You and each individual immigrating with you are required to get a medical examination prior to your interview. The doctor will either provide the results directly to the embassy or give you a sealed envelope. If you are given a sealed envelope, do not open it. Instead, bring it with you to the interview and give it to the consular officer.
Register for a Courier Service
Register for a courier service to have your visa-stamped passport returned to you.
Gather Required Documents
Bring an original or certified copy of all civil documents that you included in your application. If you did not provide English translations for your documents, you will need to bring those at the time of your interview. You should also bring your:
- Appointment letter
- Confirmation page for your DS-260 application
Failure to provide all necessary documents will delay the processing of your visa until you can provide them.
Get Help With Your Immigration Application
Submitting your DS-260 application is a critical step in securing your immigrant visa. You must fill out the application accurately and completely.
Our attorneys at New Frontier Immigration Law can help you by answering any questions, gathering supporting documents, and preparing you for your interview. If you have questions about form DS-260 or need assistance with your application, contact our team today.