What is the purpose of Form DS-260?
Form DS-260, “Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application,” is a form used by individuals who have been selected for an immigrant visa through the U.S. Department of State’s Diversity Visa (DV) Program or by individuals who are applying for an immigrant visa through consular processing. The form is submitted online and is used to gather biographical information from individuals seeking to immigrate to the United States.
Key points about Form DS-260:
- Immigrant Visa Application: Form DS-260 is specifically used for immigrant visa applications, which are different from nonimmigrant visas (such as tourist, student, or work visas). Immigrant visas are intended for individuals who plan to permanently reside in the United States.
- Diversity Visa Program (DV): Individuals who have been selected as diversity visa lottery winners are required to complete Form DS-260 as part of their visa application process.
- Consular Processing: Individuals who are eligible for an immigrant visa based on family-sponsored or employment-based petitions, as well as certain other categories, typically go through a process known as consular processing. As part of this process, they must submit Form DS-260 online.
- Biographical Information: Form DS-260 collects detailed biographical information about the visa applicant, including personal details, family information, education history, work experience, and more.
- Security and Background Checks: The information provided in Form DS-260 is used for security and background checks to determine the applicant’s eligibility for an immigrant visa.
- Supporting Documentation: Applicants are often required to bring supporting documentation to their consular interview, which may include birth certificates, marriage certificates, police clearances, and other documents to verify the information provided in the form.
- Medical Examination: Immigrant visa applicants are typically required to undergo a medical examination by an approved panel physician to ensure they meet the health requirements for admission to the U.S.
- Scheduling Consular Interview: After submitting Form DS-260 and required documentation, applicants will receive instructions on how to schedule a consular interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country.
- Accessing Form DS-260: Applicants can access and complete Form DS-260 online through the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website.
- Case Number: Individuals who are selected as DV lottery winners receive a case number, which is used to access Form DS-260 and schedule the consular interview.
- Fees: Some immigrant visa applicants are required to pay visa application and processing fees, which may vary based on the visa category.
It’s important to note that the specific requirements and procedures for immigrant visa applications can vary based on the applicant’s visa category and country of origin. Applicants should carefully follow the instructions provided by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. embassy or consulate where they will be applying for their immigrant visa.
When do I need to fill out Form DS-260?
You need to fill out Form DS-260, “Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application,” when you are required to submit an immigrant visa application through consular processing for the purpose of obtaining a U.S. immigrant visa. The timing for filling out Form DS-260 depends on your specific circumstances and the type of immigrant visa you are applying for. Here are some common scenarios:
- Diversity Visa (DV) Winners: If you have been selected as a DV lottery winner, you will need to fill out Form DS-260 after receiving notification of your selection. The DV lottery winners are given a specific period during which they can submit their DS-260 application, typically after the announcement of the results.
- Family-Sponsored or Employment-Based Immigrants: If you are applying for an immigrant visa based on a family-sponsored or employment-based petition, you generally need to fill out Form DS-260 after your petition has been approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once your petition is approved, the National Visa Center (NVC) will provide instructions on how to proceed, including how to fill out Form DS-260.
- Consular Interview Scheduling: In most cases, you will need to complete Form DS-260 before scheduling a consular interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. The consular interview is a crucial step in the process of obtaining an immigrant visa.
- Immigrant Visa Fee Payment: Some applicants may need to pay the immigrant visa application fee before submitting Form DS-260. The instructions provided by the U.S. embassy or consulate will guide you on when and how to pay the fee.
- Medical Examination: In preparation for your consular interview, you will typically need to undergo a medical examination by an approved panel physician. The results of the medical examination may be required during your consular interview.
- Supporting Documentation: As part of the Form DS-260 submission, you may need to provide supporting documentation such as birth certificates, marriage certificates, police certificates, and other documents to verify the information provided in the form.
It’s important to carefully follow the instructions provided by the U.S. Department of State, the National Visa Center (NVC), and the U.S. embassy or consulate where you will be applying for your immigrant visa. The instructions will outline the specific steps, timing, and requirements for submitting Form DS-260 and completing the consular processing for your immigrant visa application.
What documents must be submitted with Form DS-260?
When submitting Form DS-260, “Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application,” as part of your immigrant visa application through consular processing, you will likely need to provide supporting documents that verify the information you provide in the form. The specific documents required can vary based on your immigrant visa category and the U.S. embassy or consulate where you will be applying. Here are some common types of documents that may be required:
- A valid passport for each applicant, with an expiration date that is at least six months beyond the intended date of entry into the United States.
- Passport-sized photographs that meet the U.S. visa photo requirements for each applicant.
- Birth Certificates:
- Original or certified copies of birth certificates for each applicant to establish identity and family relationships.
- Marriage Certificates:
- Marriage certificates for married couples to verify the marital relationship.
- Divorce or Death Certificates:
- Divorce or death certificates from previous marriages, if applicable.
- Police Certificates:
- Police clearance certificates or certificates of good conduct from the authorities in each country where an applicant has lived for a specified period, if applicable.
- Medical Examination Results:
- Medical examination results from an approved panel physician, as required by the U.S. embassy or consulate.
- Form I-864 Affidavit of Support:
- If applicable, the Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) and supporting documentation provided by the sponsor.
- Employment-Based Documents:
- For employment-based immigrants, documentation related to the job offer, qualifications, and work experience.
- Education Documents:
- Education certificates, diplomas, and transcripts to verify educational qualifications, if required by the visa category.
- Police Certificates:
- Police certificates from the countries where you have lived for a certain period, as required by the U.S. embassy or consulate.
- Other Supporting Documentation:
- Any additional documents required based on your specific visa category and circumstances.
It’s crucial to carefully review the instructions provided by the U.S. embassy or consulate where you will be applying for your immigrant visa. The instructions will outline the specific documentation requirements and procedures for submitting the required documents along with Form DS-260. Keep in mind that all documents should be properly translated into English if they are not in English, and you should keep copies of all submitted documents for your records.