In September 2013, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) announced that a required form for all individuals requesting an immigrant visa (green card) from the Department of State would be affected immediately. The obsolete form, a paper-based version identified as DS-230 (“Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration”), has been replaced by Form DS-260 (retaining the same descriptive name) and can only be completed through an online website. An accompanying form to the DS-230, the DS-3023 (“Change of Agent”), has likewise been replaced by an electronic form, now identified as DS-261 and retaining the same descriptive name.
After an EB-5 applicant submits his initial petition (Form I-526) to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and that petition is approved, the USCIS sends it to the National Visa Center (NVC). Once received, the NVC assigns the petition a case number. The petitioner then begins submitting the required materials, including a completed Form DS-260, and preparing for the visa interview appointment. Since the DS-260 form must be completed electronically, the petitioner does not need to bring paper copies of this document for his interview; the NVC and consular posts will be able to access the information through its online systems.
The DS-260 online form allows an applicant to complete the required information at the applicant’s own pace. Most information on the newer DS-260 electronic form is very similar to the outdated DS-230. Applicants can save the progress of their forms and resume their session at a later time if necessary.
A few notable differences exist between the old form and its replacement:
- The old DS-230 asked the applicant to list the City, State/Province, Country and dates of his/her residences since the age of 16, and only for residences lasting longer than 6 months. The new DS-260 requires the full address of every residence since 16, regardless of the length of stay at that residence.
- The old DS-230 requested the month and year of past residences and employment while the new DS-260 requests the exact dates.
- The old DS-230 asked for the dates of all previous visits to the U.S. while the new DS-260 requests only visits during the last 5 years.
Ideally, the centralization of the DS-260 in an electronic database will help to speed the progress towards obtaining a visa interview. For the applicant, it offers an increasingly common form-fillable electronic format that can be edited over-and-again. Applicants who have completed and submitted the old DS-230 forms and are awaiting visa interviews would not need to complete an electronic DS-260 form unless instructed to do so by the NVC or by the Consulate.
Are you applying for your green card based on an EB-5 visa? Learn more! At Jatoi & de Kirby, A.P.C., we know how important it is for you and your family to get the most up-to-date information on the EB-5 process. Our California EB-5 immigration attorneys can advise you on how changing EB-5 rules may impact new investors. Contact us for more information.