Form DS-260, officially known as the "Online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application," is an electronic application form used by individuals who are seeking to apply for an immigrant visa to the United States. It is part of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs' Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC).
The DS-260 form is typically used by individuals who have been sponsored by a relative who is a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident, or by an employer, and are in the process of immigrating to the United States. It is an integral part of the immigrant visa application process and is submitted by those who are planning to come to the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident, commonly known as a green card holder.
The form collects biographical and background information about the applicant, as well as details about their intended immigration plans. It is a crucial step in the immigrant visa application process, and completing the DS-260 is typically required as part of the overall application process. Applicants will also need to pay the appropriate fees and provide supporting documentation.
Once the DS-260 is submitted and processed, applicants may be required to attend an in-person interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. The consular officer will use the information provided on the DS-260 form during the interview to make determinations about the applicant's eligibility for an immigrant visa.
How to fill out Form DS-260?
Filling out Form DS-260, the Online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application, is an essential step in the process of applying for an immigrant visa to the United States. Here is a general guide on how to fill out Form DS-260:
- Access the DS-260 form:
- Go to the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website, which is the official platform for submitting the DS-260 form.
- Create an account or log in if you already have one.
- Start a new application:
- Once you are logged in, select "Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application" (Form DS-260).
- Begin a new application by clicking on the "Start a New DS-260 Application" button.
- Complete the online form:
- The DS-260 form consists of several sections that you need to complete. These sections include personal information, contact information, family details, previous visa information, education and work history, security and background information, and more.
- Fill out all the required fields accurately and truthfully. Be prepared to provide detailed information about your background, family, and travel history.
- Save your application:
- You can save your progress and return to it later if needed. Click the "Save" button at the bottom of each section to save your work.
- Review your application:
- After completing all sections, review your application thoroughly to ensure that all information is accurate and up-to-date.
- Submit the application:
- Once you are satisfied with the information provided in the DS-260 form, click the "Sign and Submit Application" button. This step confirms that the information you've provided is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge.
- Pay the visa application fee:
- After submitting the DS-260 form, you will be required to pay the appropriate visa application fee. The fee amount can vary depending on the type of immigrant visa you are applying for. You can pay the fee online through the CEAC website.
- Upload supporting documents:
- You may be asked to upload certain supporting documents, such as a passport-style photo, a scanned copy of your passport biodata page, and any other documents specified by the U.S. Department of State or the specific U.S. embassy or consulate where you will have your visa interview.
- Attend a visa interview:
- After submitting the DS-260 form and paying the fee, you will typically be scheduled for an in-person visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. The consular officer will review your DS-260 information during the interview.
- Print the DS-260 confirmation page:
- After your visa interview, it's a good practice to print the DS-260 confirmation page for your records. You may need this page for reference in the future.
DS-260 civil documents checklist
When completing Form DS-260 for an immigrant visa application, you may be required to provide various civil documents as part of your supporting documentation. The specific civil documents you need to submit can vary depending on your individual circumstances, but the following is a general checklist of common civil documents that may be required:
- Passport: A copy of your current, valid passport's biodata page, which includes your photo and personal information.
- Birth Certificate: A copy of your birth certificate or an equivalent document issued by your home country's government. If the document is not in English, you may need to provide a certified translation.
- Marriage Certificate: If you are married and your spouse is accompanying you to the U.S., provide a copy of your marriage certificate. If you were previously married, divorce or death certificates for your previous spouse may also be required.
- Divorce or Death Certificates: If applicable, provide divorce certificates or death certificates for any previous spouses.
- Police Clearance Certificate: Some countries require applicants to submit a police clearance certificate or equivalent, which serves as a background check. The requirements for this document vary by country.
- Military Records: If you have served in the military, you may need to provide military records, discharge certificates, or equivalent documents.
- Adoption Documentation: If you or any family members have been adopted, provide legal documentation related to the adoption.
- Court and Prison Records: If you have a criminal history or have been in prison, you may need to provide relevant court and prison records. Be sure to provide any documents related to charges or convictions.
- Affidavit of Support: In some cases, you may need to provide an Affidavit of Support (Form I-864) from your sponsor in the U.S., along with their financial documentation.
- Civil Registry Records: Depending on the requirements of your home country, you may need to provide additional civil registry records, such as records of name changes.
- Academic Records: If you are applying for certain immigrant visa categories, you may need to provide educational records, such as diplomas, transcripts, or equivalency certificates.
- Employment Records: Some visa categories may require you to provide employment records, including letters from previous employers.
- Medical Examination Reports: You may need to submit reports from the required medical examination conducted by an approved panel physician.
- Photographs: Passport-sized photographs that meet the U.S. visa photo requirements. These photos are typically required for each applicant.