USCIS Form DS-260: Complete Guide to Online Immigrant Visa Application

The USCIS Form DS-260, or the Immigrant Visa Electronic Application, is a mandatory step for individuals seeking to immigrate to the United States and obtain an immigrant visa. This online form is part of the visa application process conducted by the U.S. Department of State and requires applicants to provide various personal information. The information collected includes biographical details, family information, and background on health, criminal record, and past visa history. Completing the DS-260 accurately is crucial as it forms the basis for the consular interview and further processing of an immigrant visa application.

After Processing with DS-261 form applicants can find and fill out the DS-260 form on the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website. Each applicant, including accompanying family members, must submit a separate form.


Upon completion, a confirmation page with a barcode is generated, which must be printed and brought to the visa interview. Applicants must ensure all the information is correct and complete, as any inaccuracies could lead to delays or a denial of the visa application.

Access to a previously saved DS-260 is available through the CEAC website by entering the unique case identification number and other personal identification details. The form allows applicants to save their progress and return to complete it later if they cannot do so in one session. Once submitted, changes to the DS-260 can only be made by contacting the U.S. embassy or consulate processing the application. Applicants are advised to keep a record of their submission and to follow the instructions on the website for any updates regarding their application status and interview scheduling.

Form DS-260 Overview

Form DS-260, the Immigrant Visa Electronic Application, is a pivotal element of the U.S. immigration process. This comprehensive online form must be completed by individuals seeking to immigrate to the United States.

Purpose of Form DS-260

Form DS-260 is the formal method for those applying for an immigrant visa to provide their details to the U.S. Department of State. It collects extensive information, ranging from personal identification to background questions, which is crucial for consular officers to determine an applicant’s eligibility for an immigrant visa.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must be beneficiaries of an approved immigrant petition and have a case number from the National Visa Center (NVC) to initiate the DS-260 process. This form applies to various immigrant visa categories, including family-based, employment-based, and diversity visas. It is a mandatory step for anyone who wishes to apply for an immigrant visa and ultimately seek permanent resident status in the U.S.

Filling Out Form DS-260

When an applicant begins applying for an immigrant visa, Form DS-260, the Online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application is one of the critical steps. This form is mandatory for all foreign nationals applying for a U.S. immigrant visa. It requires detailed personal and biographical information to be electronically submitted to the Department of State.

Accessing the Online Form

By entering their case number, individuals can access Form DS-260 through the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website. First, applicants must create an account on the CEAC website, after which they can start the DS-260 process.

Personal Information Section

The Personal Information section of Form DS-260 requires applicants to provide:

  • Full name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Nationality
  • All aliases they may have used

Accuracy here is crucial, hence applicants must ensure that the information matches their official documents.

Address and Phone Information Section

Applicants must provide their current address and telephone information. Entries include:

  • Mailing address
  • Permanent address
  • Phone number(s)
  • Email address

This information ensures the U.S. Department of State can communicate with the applicant.

Family Information Section

In this section, applicants are required to furnish details about their:

  • Parents (names, dates of birth, countries of birth)
  • Siblings (full names, dates of birth)
  • Spouse and children (if applicable)

Providing complete family information helps in verifying family ties and immigration eligibility.

Required Documentation

When completing the DS-260 Immigration form, applicants must provide specific documentation to support their visa application. These documents are pivotal in verifying the applicant’s eligibility and identity.

Passport Biographic Page

The applicant’s passport biographic page is required as it contains essential details such as their full name, photograph, date of birth, passport number, and issue and expiry dates. This information establishes the applicant’s nationality and identity.

Birth Certificate

A birth certificate is mandatory as it is a primary document for the applicant’s date and place of birth. The certificate should be obtained from the official issuing authority in the applicant’s country of birth and needs to include the names of the applicant’s parents.

Financial Support Evidence

Evidence of financial support is necessary to demonstrate that the applicant will not become a public charge once they immigrate. Applicants may be required to furnish an affidavit of support, sponsorship forms, or proof of assets. These documents should show adequate financial resources are available to the applicant upon their arrival in the United States.

Submitting Form DS-260

Form DS-260 is a critical step in applying for a U.S. immigrant visa, requiring accurate data and proper electronic submission through the Department of State’s website.

Ensuring Accurate Information

When filling out Form DS-260, applicants must ensure all responses are complete and truthful. The form asks for a wide range of information, including but not limited to:

  • Personal details (full name, date of birth, city of birth)
  • Passport information
  • Family information
  • Work and education history
  • Security and background information

Applicants must save their work frequently to avoid data loss. Any field marked with an asterisk (*) is mandatory, and failure to answer these questions may result in the application being delayed or denied. Providing false information can result in permanent visa ineligibility.

Electronic Signature and Submission

Form DS-260 is signed electronically by clicking the “Sign Application” button at the end of the form. This electronic signature certifies that all the information provided is complete and true. To submit the form, applicants must click the “Sign and Submit” button. After submission, a confirmation page with a barcode will appear. Applicants must print this page and bring it to their visa interview. Changing the form after submission is impossible, so applicants must review their answers thoroughly before finalizing the process.

After Submission

Once an applicant submits Form DS-260, the next steps are vital for continuing the visa process.

Confirmation Page

Upon successful submission of the DS-260, applicants must print the confirmation page. This document is required during the visa interview and proves that the DS-260 has been completed online.

  • Where to obtain: The confirmation page can be accessed and printed from the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) following the submission.
  • Importance: Mandatory for visa interview attendance.

Interview Preparation

An interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate is mandatory for visa applicants. They should prepare the following:

  • Required Documents: Bring the DS-260 confirmation page, passport, photographs, and supporting documents as instructed by the National Visa Center (NVC) or the embassy.
  • Fees: Applicants must pay a visa application fee, typically $330, at the embassy before the interview.

Possible Adjustments of Status

Some applicants may find their circumstances change after submission of the DS-260.

  • Resubmission: If significant changes to personal circumstances occur, such as marriage or a new child, applicants may need to notify the embassy or consulate, potentially leading to a requirement to update or edit the DS-260 form.
  • USCIS Immigrant Fee: After the visa interview and upon receipt, applicants must pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee, currently $325, to receive their physical Green Card.

The above steps are crucial to ensuring a smooth progression through the U.S. immigration process following the submission of Form DS-260. Applicants are advised to follow the specific instructions from the NVC and the embassy or consulate.

Common Issues and Solutions

When applying for an immigrant visa using the DS-260 form, applicants often encounter several issues. This section explores common problems and their practical solutions.

Technical Problems

Technical glitches with the DS-260 online application platform have been a recurrent concern. Applicants may experience the site crashing, which can lead to the loss of unsaved data. To mitigate this:

  • Applicants should save their work frequently to prevent data loss.
  • Using a stable internet connection and avoiding peak hours can reduce the odds of encountering such problems.
  • If issues persist, contacting the National Visa Center or seeking technical support may be necessary.

Information Amendments

Once the DS-260 form has been submitted, making changes requires direct communication with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Should an applicant need to amend their application after submission, they ought to:

  • Request for changes during the visa interview, clarifying the nature of the amendment needed.

Document Upload Difficulties

Uploading documents can sometimes pose challenges due to file size or format restrictions. Solutions to these issues include:

  • Ensure all documents are in acceptable formats (usually .jpg or .pdf) and do not exceed the file size limits.
  • Scanning documents at a lower resolution to reduce size without compromising legibility.

Support and Resources

When completing the DS-260 form, applicants can access customer service support and comprehensive FAQs to aid in the process.

Customer Service Contact

Applicants who require assistance can contact the National Visa Center (NVC) for DS-260 Immigrant Visa Electronic Application support. For inquiries by phone, the NVC’s customer service is reachable at (603) 334-0700. Assistance is available in multiple languages to cater to the diverse applicants. For written inquiries, applicants can send an email to the address provided on the official website.

Frequently Asked Questions

The FAQs provide vital information covering various topics, including:

  • Form Completion: Detailed guidance on every step of filling out the DS-260 form.
  • Technical Issues: Solutions to common technical problems encountered during the application process.
  • Submission Process: Instructions on how to submit the DS-260 form correctly.

To view the FAQs, applicants should visit the official webpage associated with the DS-260 form on the website. The page systematically addresses common concerns and provides clear, actionable instructions for applicants.