The Department of State (DOS) is now transitioning to an online immigrant visa application. Immigrant visa applicants will apply online using Form DS-260 (Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration), and choose their agent online using Form DS-261 (Choice of Address and Agent). Applicants can access both forms on the Web at https://ceac.state.gov/ceac/. These forms replace the paper DS-230 and DS-3032. Generally, if an applicant’s DS-230 has already been submitted and accepted, the applicant will not need to complete the DS-260 UNLESS instructed to do so by the National Visa Center (NVC) or a consular officer. While all posts now require the DS-260, at this time only selected posts are accepting documents submitted electronically. For the vast majority of posts, where electronic document collection is not yet in effect (even though the DS-260 is in use), original documents must still be sent in paper form to NVC. NVC will forward the documents with the rest of the case file to the post. Original documents will be returned to the applicant after the visa interview.
The following is additional guidance from the DOS on what to expect during this transition:
- If a case is already documentarily qualified and awaiting scheduling, the case will proceed with the DS-230.
- If a case is still in the document collection phase and a checklist letter is sent for any reason, even if a DS-230 is on file, you will be instructed to complete Form DS-260.
- If the NVC has already scheduled the consular interview and sent the case to the consular post with the DS-230, then it will stay a DS-230 case. Applicants will not need to complete the DS-260 unless a consular officer requests it.
Only Diversity Visa and Cuban Family Reunification Parole applicants will continue to use the paper forms.
In addition, effective October 7, 2013, all K visa applicants are required to complete the DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. The DS-160 replaces Forms I-156, I-156K and DS-230. Some exceptions apply to cases filed prior to October 7.