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Immigrant Visa Applications Now Submitted Online

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on September 17, 2013

Immigrants looking to enter the United States must first obtain the appropriate visa, which requires a visa application. As part of the visa application process, each applicant must complete and submit an Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, along with the necessary civil documents, to the National Visa Center (NVC), which collects visa fees, reviews visa documents, and schedules interviews for immigrant visa cases for U.S. Embassies and Consulates General (with the exception of the Consulate General in Guangzhou, China, which schedules its own interviews).

Until recently, the immigrant visa application required the submission of various paper documents, but the Department of State recently announced that, effective September 3, 2013, it will use an online immigrant visa application for immigrant visa and alien registration. The online forms – Form DS-260 (Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration) and Form DS-261 (Choice of Address and Agent) are available here.
Visas applications submitted pursuant to the Diversity Visa Program and Cuban Family Reunification Parole will continue to use the paper forms, however.

What You Need to Know About the New Online DS-260 Immigrant Visa Application

  • In order to complete the application, you must have internet access, your National Visa Center (NVC) case number, and your invoice ID number
  • Tthe DS-260 can be accessed from the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website, by going to and clicking on “Submit Visa Application and Civil Documents,” or on the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate where you will apply.
  • All information on the online DS-260 application must be in English, using English characters only, unless specially provided otherwise. Applications that are submitted in any language other than English may be rejected, and you will be required to log back into the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) and provide English answers.
  • You do not need to bring your application with you to your interview as the interviewing officer will have full access to review the application online.

The Chicago immigration lawyers at the Shapiro Law Group focus on helping immigrants obtain the necessary work-related visas or family-sponsored visas. We guide clients through the entire visa process – from visa application submission to the interview process and compliance with visa requirements. If you are a foreign national who wants to obtain a visa or you would like to sponsor an employee’s or family member’s visa, do not hesitate to contact us at (847)564-0712 to speak with an experienced and qualified Illinois immigration attorney.