The DS-260 is an immigrant visa form used for applicants during consular processing abroad. Unlike filling out an I-485 application from inside the United States, applicants abroad who are applying for a U.S. green card (or immigrant visa) need to use this form as dictated by the State Department.
Previously, under the Trump Administration, there was a travel restriction put in place under Presidential Proclamations 9645 and 9983 that suspended entry into the United States from certain nationals, based on their visa type from the following countries: Myanmar, Eritrea, Libya, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Venezuela, and Yemen.
These restrictions have now been lifted under Biden’s executive order to “end discriminatory bans on entry to the United States”. This executive order does not mean that visa applicants can readily travel to the United States from these countries and be admitted, it simply states that the visa application process is now back open again for non-citizens from these countries.
Per the official rules, visa and green card applicants who previously did not submit any of their paperwork due to the prior presidential proclamations before January 20th, 2021, can now submit a new DS-260 per the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC), and must also pay a new consular processing fee. Such applicants will be fairly processed and adjudicated by the State Department under the normal processing fees:
- State Department Processing Fee, $325
- Financial Support Form, $125
- Medical Exam fees (if applicable)
In addition, some applicants who have already filed their DS-260 from the affected countries before January 20th, 2021, but were denied because of the restrictions at the time, will be further investigated by the State Department to decide how their applications should proceed. Specifically, the State Department commented and stated they will have to consider if it is necessary to charge an additional fee to such applicants, but also develop a new plan to expedite consideration of those visa applications that have now reached eligibility standards.
Overall, new green cards will eventually be issued to applicants from these countries that have now been taken off the restricted list, however, such applicants will also now be processed according to COVID-19 regulations (limited visa appointments at U.S. consulates), and will still have one more informal interview with a CBP officer once their visa has been stamped and they arrive at a port of entry in the U.S. Click here to read more about the official statement.