Form DS 260: The essential step for your immigrant visa

Navigate through the green card green card application process is a challenge that many migrants face each year. That is why today we will explain everything you need to know about Form DS 260, with tips to avoid obstacles and achieve the dream of obtaining permanent residency in the United States.

Need help with your Green Card application? Don’t worry, at Urbina Immigration Law we can give you the quality legal assistance you deserve. Don’t risk your future by navigating the complex immigration system on your own. Talk to an attorney today and take the first step towards permanent residency.

What is Form DS 260?

Form DS 260 is the green card application for those applicants residing outside the United States. Also known as the “electronic immigrant visa application,” the DS-260 is processed through the National Visa Center (NVC) and the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your location.

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Also known as the “electronic immigrant visa application”, Form DS 260 is processed through the National Visa Center (NVC).

How to apply for Form DS 260?

To apply for Form DS 260, you must follow the steps below:

Step 1: Filing Form I-130

Initiate the process by filing the family sponsorship form (I-130) with USCIS, attaching supporting documents. You will receive a receipt notice by mail in approximately two weeks.

Step 2: Approval of Sponsorship and receipt of the NVC

USCIS will process your sponsorship application within 13 to 37 months. Once approved, the agency will forward the documents to the National Visa Center (NVC), which will send you a notice by mail or email with your case number, beneficiary identification number and invoice number.

Step 3: Processing by NVC

For spouses of U.S. citizens, the NVC processes the case immediately. For spouses of green card holders, the NVC waits for the “priority date” according to the Department of State’s visa bulletin.

Step 4: Notification of Visa Availability

If you wait, the NVC will send you a notice that there are currently no visas available for your category. You should follow the visa bulletin to keep track of the progress. Use your case number, beneficiary identification number and invoice number to track your case.

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NVC will send you a notice by mail or email with your case number, beneficiary ID number and invoice number.

This is a general guide to applying for Form DS 260. However, each case is unique and difficulties may vary. That is why at Urbina Immigration Law we approach each case with our years of experience and personalized attention. Do not risk your future. Contact us and let’s walk together the path to your green card.

Tips for filling out Form DS 260

The DS 260 form is the main application for a residence permit for family members of residents or citizens living abroad and filling it out correctly is essential. Therefore, here are some tips on how to complete this form:

  • Before you begin, have the case number, payee ID number and invoice number provided on the original NVC welcome notice ready.
  • Complete the entire Form DS 260 in English. If you provide addresses or names that are not in the Roman alphabet, you must transcribe them.
  • Include information on all of your children, whether stepchildren, adopted or biological, regardless of their age or whether they will immigrate with you to the United States.
  • List all addresses where you have physically lived since age 16, not just those used as official permanent addresses.
  • Be sure to provide a valid shipping address during the months it may take for the green card to arrive in the US.
  • It is not possible to correct the Form DS 260 after submitting it online. Carefully verify the information before sending it. In case of errors, inform the consular officer during the interview.
  • After submitting Form DS 260 online, print the confirmation page to take to your visa interview at the U.S. Consulate.

Please note that these tips are not a substitute for the assistance of an immigration attorney. Don’t risk your future by dealing with the system on your own. At Urbina Immigration Law we can help you. Talk to a lawyer and take the first step towards permanent residency.

Supporting documents for Form DS 260

Along with Form DS 260, both the sponsoring and sponsored family members must submit certain supporting documentation. In the following table you will find the required documents:

Applicant (Family Member) DocumentsFamily Sponsor Documents
Proof of nationality (copy of birth certificate and passport page)Proof of ability to support the relative in the U.S. (Form I-864)
Copy of marriage certificate (for green card based on marriage)Termination of marriage documents (divorce or death certificate), in case of previous marriages
Termination of marriage documents (divorce or death certificate), if applicableProof of address (for U.S. sponsor: proof of address or state ID)
Copy of your military record (if you have served)
Police certificates showing past infractions or lack thereof, obtained from:
– Any place in your home country where you lived for at least six months after the age of 16.
– Any place outside your home country where you lived for at least one year after the age of 16.
– Any jurisdiction where you have been arrested or charged with a crime, no matter how long you have lived there or how old you were at the time.

Please note that, depending on the case and the U.S. Consulate, additional documents may be required. Therefore, it is important to have the assistance of an immigration attorney to help you gather the necessary documentation. At Urbina Immigration Law we can assist you. Contact us and let’s get your paperwork in order. 

Do I have to pay a fee to file Form DS 260?

You do not need to pay a fee when filing Form DS-260. However, after your visa is approved, you will need to pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee ($220) online to receive your physical green card once you arrive in the United States.

How long does it take to process Form DS 260?

For spouses of U.S. citizens, the NVC processes the case immediately. For spouses of green card holders, the NVC waits for the “priority date” according to the Department of State’s visa bulletin.

What is the DS 261 Form?

Form DS 261 is a simple online form that tells the Department of State how to contact you during the green card application process. It requires no fee and takes the NVC up to three weeks to process.

What is the difference between Form DS 260 and Form DS 261?

Form DS 260 is the main green card application for family members abroad, while Form DS 261 only indicates how to communicate with the beneficiary during the process.

After submitting Form DS 260, what’s next?

Once you have completed and submitted your Form DS 260, the next step is to attend an interview with a U.S. consular officer. Filing the DS-260 does not formally execute your visa application, but this follows the interview with the consular authorities.

The interview can be a stressful time, as the success of your application depends to a large extent on it. But do not despair. At Urbina Immigration Law our attorneys can help you prepare for this difficult time. Contact us today and secure your future in the United States with your permanent residency.

Sources

Travel.state.gov – DS-260 Immigrant Visa E-Application

USCIS –  I-130, Alien Relative Petition

USCIS – Family Reunification Humanitarian Permit Processes

Other resources

How to apply for American residency by family petition, step by step

Form I-130: Everything you need to know

Family sponsorship limits: How many family members can I bring to the United States?

Green card by marriage in the United States, in detail

Renewal of permanent residency in the United States: steps and documentation