DS 260 Process
The USCIS form DS-260 or “immigrant visa electronic application” is the application for a green card for those who are applying from outside the United States. It is processed by the National Visa Center (NVC) and your local U.S. Embassy or consulate. The DS 260 allows the applicant to begin a consular interview.
When To Complete The USCIS DS-260
Foreign nationals who have received word from Visas-USA that their immigrant visa / Permanent Resident / Green Card application has been approved must complete the online form DS-260.
If you have received approval for the visas below, fill out a DS 260 form:
Approval Of Your Visa
To begin, you must already have approval of your immigrant visa. Visas-USA will alert you when this approval is granted. This may come through a family member sponsoring your petition via Form I-130 or an employer (or the applicant as a self-sponsor) applying via Form I-140.
Immediate relatives of citizens, including spouses and minor children under 21, will receive notice very quickly, and there is no cap imposed by the government on the number of these visas. Employment based applications can take much longer.
Processing Through the National Visa Center (NVC)
After USCIS approves your petition, it will send a copy of this approval to the NVC. They will then shepherd your case through the process that leads to the embassy or consulate. An applicant will receive communication from the NVC asking to begin completing the DS-260 online. They will notify the applicant of their NVC case number, NVC invoice ID number, and beneficiary ID number. Do not lose this information.
Pay The Processing Fees
The NVC will require you to pay your mandatory fees online. These include a DS-260 processing fee of $325 and an affidavit of support fee of $120. These must be paid promptly, and the fees are subject to change without notice.
Affidavit of Support for Family-based Applicants
If you are receiving your permanent residency based on a family relationship, your family member sponsor must submit a Form I-864, in which they agree to support you financially and vow to repay the government should you one day depend on public benefits like welfare.
Completing the DS-260 Online
The NVC will alert the applicant when they may fill out the DS-260 via the following website: https://ceac.state.gov/IV/Login.aspx. The applicant must have their case number and other details to begin.
In completing the online form, you must do the following:
- Answer all questions truthfully and consistent with your I-130 or I-140
- List all children when required, regardless of ages
- Honestly list your social media accounts
- Move slowly and with care
Before beginning the process of completing the DS-260 you should gather all your relevant documents, including your passport, your visa, a resume or curriculum vitae, your sponsor’s information, information regarding all your past residences, your social media accounts, as well as your civil documents like birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc. If these documents are not in English, you will need certified translations.
Each dependent family member who will be entering the U.S. must fill out their own DS-260.
Enter your correct Case Number, as well as the Invoice ID Number, and identify yourself as the Applicant (the person seeking to become a Permanent Resident) or the Petitioner (the family member or employer sponsoring the applicant).
Answer all questions in English and using the English alphabet.
Provide your full name, city of birth, and date of birth, as it appeared on your visa application and as it appears on your passport.
Input your Passport information and number.
List your current and previous addresses as well as your phone number and email address. The current address listed should be where you receive mail.
List your social media accounts. You should thoroughly review these accounts to ensure they do not promote criminality or activities that could give the U.S. Government cause to worry.
Provide information regarding both of your parents, living or dead. You will also be required to provide information regarding your spouse (and previous spouses), if you are or were married. The same will be required of your children, if you have any.
You will be asked about previous travel to the United States, whether you have ever previously held a U.S. Visa, or been refused entry. You will need to know the dates of issuance for these visas.
Answer questions about your work history, your primary occupation, and your plans to work in the United States. You will also be asked questions about your education and training, and required to answer questions about the schools, including their addresses.
The questions regarding your work history can be quite detailed and you should be prepared to provide all information.
Answer questions about your petitioner, if you are an applicant, and their relationship to you.
You will be asked detailed and personal questions about your physical health, your mental health, and your relationship with drugs and alcohol. You will need to know your vaccination history.
You will be asked questions about your criminal background. It is crucial that you answer these questions honestly. You will also be asked questions about terroristic activities and political violence.
Answer questions about your previous visits to the United States, and whether you have ever been subject to deportation, or found to have overstayed your visa.
You will be asked about whether you have ever received a United States Social Security Number and whether you are requesting one.
Finally you will digitally sign the document and submit it. We recommend printing a copy of the document when you are given the opportunity.
About THE CONSULAR INTERVIEW
After you submit your DS-260, the NVC will send you notice of your consular visa interview appointment. It is mandatory that you attend. This notice will also instruct you on tasks you must perform in advance.
Each embassy functions slightly differently, but typically you will have to do the following:
- Schedule and participate in a medical examination. Each family member must comply with this requirement.
- Gather your documents for the interview, including certified English translations. You should bring your appointment notice, your passport, two passport sized photographs of you, your DS-260 confirmation page, and any other supporting documents that you have provided.
The applicant, along with any family members traveling to the U.S., must attend the interview.
What To Expect
You will be asked questions about your application, specific to your immigrant visa type, to determine your final eligibility to receive an immigrant visa, permanent residency, or “green card”.
You should expect to leave your passport behind at the interview.
Most, if not all, applicants learn of the decision immediately.
Your passport, with its new visa stamp, will be returned to you by mail or courier service, depending on your instructions.