Notice to Immigrant Visa Applicants
Effective September 1, 2013, the DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application & Registration, and DS-261, Choice of Address and Agent replaced the paper-based DS-230, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration (parts I and II) and the DS-3032, Choice of Address and Agent. The DS-260 and DS-261 are fully integrated online electronic visa application forms used to collect the necessary application information from persons seeking immigrant visas. These online forms are completed and submitted online to the Department of State via the Internet through the Consular Electronic Applications Center (CEAC). The forms may be partially completed, saved online to finish, and submitted later; or the forms can be completed and submitted in a single session.
To determine if your petition began processing in time to join the program and to access Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application, and Form DS-261, Choice of Address and Agent, click Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website. After logging in, follow the directions displayed noting the following:
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Review the DS-260 FAQs if you must complete the online DS-260 form.
Individuals who wish to obtain lawful permanent resident status in the U.S. generally must obtain immigrant visas at the U.S. consulate or U.S. embassy where they live. Most immigrant visa applications begin when a family member who is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident submits a petition on behalf of the intending immigrant to the U. S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS, formerly INS) in the United States or at an embassy abroad. It is also possible for a U.S. employer to file a petition for a foreign national that the employer wishes to hire. Click here to learn more about Employment Based Visas. Nationals from some countries may be able to obtain an immigrant visa through the Diversity Visa Lottery Program.
Once your petition has been approved by USCIS, it is forwarded to the Department of State's National Visa Center (NVC) if the petition was filed in the United States. After the National Visa Center finishes initial processing of your petition, it is forwarded to the embassy or consulate of jurisdiction, (where the beneficiary resides). Immediate Relative petitions can be filed at an overseas USCIS office, if the petitioner has resided in that country for a minimum of six months.
When the NVC forwards your petition to our office, you will receive a letter informing you of the transfer. NVC will also schedule your visa interview at the U.S. Consulate General in Mumbai. As soon as your interview is scheduled, you will receive an appointment letter and additional instructions (the minimum amount of time is normally six to eight weeks but may be longer if your priority date is not current). If your petition was filed overseas, you will receive an instruction letter as soon as we receive your petition. You will be eligible for a visa interview after you follow the guidance in the letter.
New USCIS Immigrant fee
Effective February 1, 2013, all individuals issued immigrant visas overseas must pay a $165.00 USCIS Immigrant Fee before traveling to the United States. For more information, please click http://www.USCIS.gov/immigrantfee
U.S. Visas for same sex spouses
The Supreme Court has found section 3 of the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. Effective immediately, U.S. Embassies and Consulates will adjudicate visa applications that are based on a same- sex marriage in the same way that we adjudicate applications for opposite gender spouses. For more information, please click http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/frvi_6306.html.
Important information for applicants in K-1, K-3, IR-1/CR-1, and F2A visa categories
Before your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or a Consulate abroad, it is important that you carefully read the phamplet on the State Department's website at http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/pamphlet/pamphlet_5725.html for visa applicants in the K-1, K-3, IR-1/CR-1, and F2A categories to know your rights and protection as well as resources available to you, if help is needed when you come to the United States.
DV Scam Alert
Diversity Visa Program Scammers sending Fraudulent Emails and Letters
The Department of State, Office of Visa Services, advises the public of a notable increase in fraudulent emails and letters to Diversity Visa(DV) program(Visa Lottery) applicants. The scammers behind these fraudulent emails and letters are posing as the U.S. government in an attempt to extract payment from DV applicants. All applicants should be familiar with information about DV scams provided by the Federal Trade Commission. Applicants are encouraged to review the rules and procedures for the DV program so that you know what to expect, when to expect it and from whom. For more information, please click here.