Form DS-260

The DS-260 is the online form used by the NVC to gather information about Family Green Card applicants. Is is submitted only by applicants going through Consular Processing, not by those going through Adjustment of Status.

How do applicants get to the DS-260?

The DS-260 is part of the CEAC (Consular Electronic Application Center), and can be accessed after applicants receive their ‘Welcome Letter’, and use the information contained in the Welcome Letter to pay the fees.

Technically, it starts with applicants choosing ‘an agent’ through form DS-261. In the CEAC, Form DS-260 is called the ‘IV Application’ (IV stands for ‘Immigrant Visa’). The link provided will change depending on the state of your work (from ‘Start Now’, to ‘Incomplete’, to ‘Submit’, to ‘Submitted’).

What happens after the DS-260 is submitted?

The CEAC uses the answers contained in the DS-260 to generate a list of required documents:

  • Certain documents establishing that the eligibility of the family relationship between applicants and sponsors (for instance, marriage certificate for a couple)
  • Police Certificates, based on the address history of applicants (applicants need to enter the address of all of the places where they lived since they turned 16)

So after the DS-260, applicants typically submit required documents as well as other documents of their choosing (called the ‘Civil Documents’), and work on the Affidavit of Support.

What are the main sections of the DS-260?

The main sections of the DS-260 are:

  • Personal (names, marital status, birth and passport information)
  • Address and Phone (Addresses since applicants turned 16 years old)
  • Family (detailed information about current and previous spouses, as well as applicants’ parents and children)
  • Previous U.S. Travel (last 5 visits to the United States)
  • Work / Education / Training (employment history for the last 10 yeas, studies done after turning 16, military)
  • Petitioner (name, address, contact)
  • Security and Background (this is looking for medical conditions, criminal acts, immigration violations, misconducts, … that would be ground of inadmissibility against the applicant)
  • Social Security Number
Form DS-260
Form DS-260: All the sections listed in their left column menu also have multiple subsections.

DS-260 Entry Tips

Be Prepared

Questions have to be answered in a particular order. Unanswered questions are highlighted in red, and you cannot move forward until you have answered them.

DS-260 Missing Answers
Unanswered questions are highlighted in red and have to be completed to move forward.

Know the Details

Answering certain questions will trigger more questions.

If you have a previous spouse…

DS-260: Spouse Information
Previous spouse information is only shown if you answer yes.

Then expect follow-up questions about your previous spouses.

DS-260: Previous Spouse Questions
DS-260 generated previous spouse questions

Be Ready for RECAPTCHA

In order to confirm that you are human and not a bot RECAPTCHA appears multiple times and can be negatively affecting your experience. Be ready to type in letters and numbers and make few mistakes. This is annoying but there is no way around it.

Don’t expect assistance on consistency!

Unlike with Immigration Planner, you are not going to get alerts if you name your spouse ‘Cate’ in the ‘Spouse’ section and ‘Catherine’ in the ‘Petitioner’ section when you are being sponsored by your wife. It is up to you to get it right.

There is a mistake in my submitted DS-260, what can I do?

Nothing until the interview. The NVC cannot ‘unlock’ a submitted DS-260 so that you can correct mistakes, only the Consular Officer can. So if there are mistakes, you will have to be patient.

Don’t rush to submit your online form too quickly and take the time to review your answers.

List of All the Questions in the DS-260

General

The Personal section of the DS-260 is mostly about applicants’ identity and travel documentation. Generally speaking, the data that is entered must match the information as it is written in applicants’ passport of travel documents:

  • Full Name of applicants, as well as their name in their native alphabet, and any other names (such as maiden, religious, professional, alias, …) they might have used.
  • Birth Information (date and place of birth)
  • Details of the passport applicants will use to travel to the United States (passport number, issuing country, issuance date, expiration date) as well as details of other nationalities and passports.

Address and Phone is about where applicants are today, but also where they lived before:

  • Phone numbers
  • Present mailing and physical addresses, U.S. address where the Green Card should be mailed
  • All the addresses where applicants lived since the age of 16

Family is about the current and previous spouses, as well as applicants’ parents and children. The questions are similar to Form I-130 questions:

  • For all these family members, full names and birth information are needed
  • Additionally, for the current spouse: present address, occupation, marriage details (place and date)
  • Additionally, for prior spouses: when and how the prior marriage was terminated
  • Additionally for parents: their present address

Previous U.S. Travel is about applicant’s last 5 visits to the United States and last U.S. visa:

  • Date of arrival and lenght of stay
  • Details (visa classification, number, and issuance date) of the last U.S. visa obtained
  • Questions as to whether U.S. visas were lost / stolen, cancelled / revoked, refused, or if applicants were refused admission / withdrew their application for admission

Work / Education / Training is about employment history for the last 10 years, studies done after turning 16, and military service:

  • Applicants present primary occupation, and occupation in which applicants intend to work in the United States
  • Details (name of employer, address, telephone number, job title, supervisor’s full name, date from / to) of all applicants’ employers for the last 10 years
  • Details (name, address, course of study, degree obtained, date from / to) of high school, college, university, graduate school, doctoral, vocational programs
  • Details (branch, rank, specialty, date from / to) of military service

Additionally, if you answer ‘yes’, details and explanations will be asked:

  • Have you belonged to, contributed to, or worked for any professional, social, or charitable organization?
  • Do you have any specialized skills or training, such as firearms, explosives, nuclear, biological, or chemical experience?
  • Have you ever served in, been a member of, or been involved with a paramilitary unit, vigilante unit, rebel group, guerrilla group, or insurgent organization?
  • Can you speak and/or read languages other than your native language?

Petitioner is about basic information about the sponsor:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Contact information

Social Security is about the opportunity to ask for a social security number for applicants who do not have one.

Security and Background

Security and Background is looking for grounds of inadmissibility in various spheres such as medical conditions, criminal acts, immigration violations, misconducts, …

Medical and Health information:

  • Do you have a communicable disease of public health significance such as tuberculosis (TB)?
  • Do you have documentation to establish that you have received vaccinations in accordance with U.S. law?
  • Do you have a mental or physical disorder that poses or is likely to pose a threat to the safety or welfare of yourself or others?
  • Are you or have you ever been a drug abuser or addict?

Criminal Information:

  • Have you ever been arrested or convicted for any offense or crime, even though subject of a pardon, amnesty, or other similar action?
  • Have you ever violated, or engaged in a conspiracy to violate, any law relating to controlled substances?
  • Are you the spouse, son or daughter of an individual who has violated any controlled substance trafficking law, and have knowingly benefited from the trafficking activities in the past five years?
  • Are you coming to the United States to engage in prostitution, or unlawful commercialized vice or have you been engaged in prostitution or procuring prostitutes within the past 10 years?
  • Have you ever been involved in, or do you seek to engage in, money laundering?
  • Have you ever committed or conspired to commit a human trafficking offense in the United States or outside the United States?
  • Have you ever knowingly aided, abetted, assisted, or colluded with an individual who has been identified by the President of the United States as a person who plays a significant role in a severe form of trafficking in persons?
  • Are you the spouse, son, or daughter of an individual who has committed or conspired to commit a human trafficking offense in the United States or outside the United States and have you within the last five years, knowingly benefited from the trafficking activities?
  • Do you seek to engage in espionage, sabotage, export control violations, or any other illegal activity while in the United States?
  • Do you seek to engage in terrorist activities while in the United States or have you ever engaged in terrorist activities?
  • Have you ever, or do you intend to provide financial assistance or other support to terrorists or terrorist organizations?
  • Are you a member or representative of a terrorist organization?
  • Have you ever ordered, incited, committed, assisted, or otherwise participated in genocide?
  • Have you ever committed, ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in torture?
  • ave you ever committed, ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in extrajudicial killings, political killings, or other acts of violence?
  • Have you ever engaged in the recruitment of or the use of child soldiers?
  • Are you a member of or affiliated with the Communist or other totalitarian party?
  • Have you ever directly or indirectly assisted or supported any of the groups in Colombian known as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), National Liberation Army (ELN), or Unite Self-Defenses Forces of Colombia (AUC)?
  • Have you ever, through abuse of governmental or political position converted for personal gain, confiscated or expropriated property in a foreign nation to which a United States national had a claim of ownership?
  • Are you the spouse, minor child, or agent of an individual who has through abuse of governmental or political position converted for personal gain, confiscated, or expropriated property in a foreign nation to which a United States national had a claim of ownership?
  • Have you ever been directly involved in the establishment or enforcement of population controls forcing a woman to undergo an abortion against her free choice or a man or a woman to undergo sterilization against his or her free choice?
  • Have you ever disclosed or trafficked in confidential U.S. business information obtained in connection with U.S. participation in the Chemical Weapons Convention?
  • Are you the spouse, minor child, or agent of an individual who has disclosed or trafficked in confidential U.S. business information obtained in connection with U.S. participation in the Chemical Weapons Convention?
  • Have you ever sought to obtain or assist other to obtain a visa, entry into the United States, or any other United States immigration benefit by fraud or willful misrepresentation or other unlawful means?
  • Have you ever been the subject of a removal or deportation hearing?
  • Have you ever failed to attend a hearing on removability or inadmissibility within the last five years?
  • Have you ever been unlawfully present, overstayed the amount of time granted by an immigration official or otherwise violated the terms of a U.S. visa?
  • Are you subject to a civil penalty under INA 274C?
  • Have you ever been ordered removed from the U.S. during the last five years?
  • Have you been ordered removed from the U.S. for a second time within the last 20 years?
  • Have you ever been unlawfully present and ordered removed from the U.S. during the last ten years?
  • Have you ever been convicted of an aggravated felony and been ordered removed from the U.S.?
  • Have you ever been unlawfully present in the U.S. for more than 180 days (but no more than a year) and have voluntarily departed the U.S. within the last three years?
  • Have you ever been unlawfully present in the U.S. for more than 1 year or more than one year in the aggregate at any time during the last 10 years?

Miscellaneous (Other):

  • Have you ever withheld custody of a U.S. citizen child outside the United States from a person granted legal custody by a U.S. court?
  • Have you ever intentionally assisted another person in withholding custody of a U.S. citizen child outside the United States from a person granted legal custody by a U.S. court?
  • Have you voted in the United States in violation of any law or regulation?
  • Have you ever renounced United States citizenship for the purpose of avoiding taxation?
  • Have you attended a public elementary school or a public secondary school on student (F) status after November 30, 1996 without reimbursing the school.
  • Do you seek to enter the United States for the purpose of performing skilled or unskilled labor but have not yet been certified by the Secretary of Labor?
  • Are you a graduate of a foreign medical school seeking to perform medical services in the United States but have not yet passed the National Board of Medical Examiners examination or its equivalent?
  • Are you a health care worker seeking to perform such work in the United States but have not yet received certification from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools or from an equivalent approved independent credentialing organization?
  • Are you permanently ineligible for U.S. citizenship?
  • Have you ever departed the United States in order to evade military service during time of war?
  • Are you coming to the U.S. to practice polygamy?
  • Are you a former exchange visitor (J) who has not yet fulfilled the two-year foreign residence requirement?
  • Has the Secretary of Homeland Security of the United States ever determined that you knowingly made a frivolous application for asylum?
  • Are you likely to become a public charge after you are admitted to the United States?

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