Immigrant visa applicants from outside the U.S., such as foreign nationals applying for a diversity visa (green card lottery) or a marriage-based green card, must file form DS-260 (Immigrant Visa Electronic Application). These applications are initially handled by the National Visa Center (NVC) and are then transferred to a local U.S. embassy or consulate once the NVC has collected all the essential documents.
For reliable legal support with consular processing of immigrant visas (DS-260), call our team at the Law Offices of Robert M. Bell at (954) 241-4209.
How Filling and Filing the DS-260 Form Works
A Form DS-260 is an online-only application, that can be found on the CEAC (Consular Electronic Application Center) website. Form DS-260 may take a couple of hours to complete, so it is important that you have dependable internet access and you may want to work on off-peak hours. It is important to have complete information from inception, because the system kicks applicants out after a short period of inactivity. If you cannot complete the form in one sitting, you may click “Save”, sign out, and continue later.
Most DS-260 fields are mandatory, but some are optional and some include a “Does Not Apply” box. Be sure to complete all mandatory fields before submitting your application. When you enter your answers, you should only use English, with all-English characters in your writing. Using any other language may lead to an automatic rejection.
After submitting your DS-260 application, you’ll need to wait to hear back so that the system allows you to upload your documentation. At this point, you must be highly detailed and follow the consular reciprocity table to identify the specific documents necessary to complete your requirements. Errors in document format, visibility, and quality can cause lengthy delays in case processing. Consular visa processing typically takes several months, but some expedited cases may only take a few weeks.
Supporting Documents for Form DS-260
The documents you will need to provide with your DS-260 form usually include:
- Your current passport or ID;
- Copies of birth and marriage certificates, including termination records of past marriages, if applicable;
- A copy of your military service record, if you enlisted in your home country;
- Police certificates to affirm you have a clear civil record, and
- Affidavit of Support (I-864) for family-based green cards.
Do You Need an Immigration Lawyer for Consular Processing of Immigrant Visas (DS-260)?
Many visa applications get denied for technical reasons, such as an incorrectly filled field, missing information, or incomplete supporting documentation. When your future in the United States is at stake, it is best to work with an experienced immigration attorney who will:
- Make sure you choose the right visa categories;
- Make sure you provide correct, clear, and complete information on the form;
- Work to promote and expedite your visa processing as much as possible;
- Provide guidance in difficult cases (for example, if you’re applying for a visa and have a criminal record in your home country), and
- Give you valuable advice on preparing for your visa interview.
The Law Offices of Robert M. Bell, P.A.: Immigration and Nationality Attorneys in Hollywood, FL
To avoid frustrating delays and setbacks in consular visa processing, make sure that your immigrant visa petition answers all NVC requirements and includes the necessary documents. At The Law Offices of Robert M. Bell, we will provide assistance throughout the immigration process, from filing form DS-260 to helping you prepare for your visa interview.
For a consultation on consular processing of immigrant visas (DS-260), call our South Florida office at (954) 241-4209 or complete our online form. Hablamos español.