The ultimate guide to Form DS-230

Foreign nationals seeking to obtain an immigrant visa so they can reside in the U.S. on a permanent visa must complete and file Form DS-230.

Foreign nationals seeking to obtain an immigrant visa so they can reside in the U.S. on a permanent visa must complete and file Form DS-230 (Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration). Below, we explain more about this key immigration form. 

Form DS-230, explained

Form DS-230 (Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration) is an immigration form that must be filed with the U.S. State Department. All foreign nationals who intend to immigrate to the United States must complete and submit this form.

This form must be submitted after an intending immigrant has filed the necessary applications and petitions for their specific visa category.

For example, if an alien intends on immigrating to the U.S. on a family visa, the individual’s sponsor (or petitioner) must first complete and file Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative), together with the supporting documentation. Once documentation is filed, USCIS will issue Form I-797 (Notice of Action) when the application for a family visa has been approved. 

After the issuance of Form I-797, the beneficiary (or the person seeking a family visa) can then file DS-230. In this case, completing Form I-130 serves as the first step in the process of immigrating to the U.S. on a family visa. Form DS-230 is the intending immigrant’s official marker, so to speak, of his or her intention to immigrate to the U.S. as a permanent resident. 

How to Complete Form DS-230

To obtain a copy of an Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, you can visit the Form DS-230 page of the U.S. State Department website to print the form. When completing form DS-230, make sure to type or print legibly using black ink.

Here are some tips and reminders for answering Form DS-230:

  • There are two parts to this form. Each question and item number in both parts of the form must be completed fully and accurately.

  • Should a specific question or item number not apply to your situation, you can enter the term “not applicable” or “N/A”. In cases where a numerical response is required and it does not apply to you, enter the word “none.”

  • For any item number, if the allotted space is not enough to provide the necessary information, you can write the answer on a separate sheet of paper. Make sure to label any additional sheets of paper with the item number that the response is associated with. Additionally, each additional piece of paper should be signed and dated. 

  • One copy of DS-230 should be completed for each intending immigrant and each member of their family.

  • All information must be true and accurate. Knowingly providing false information or hiding any pertinent information could result in permanent exclusion from the U.S.

Part I – Biographic Data

Part I of Form DS-230 requires biographic data. This information includes:

  • Item 1. Family name (last name), first name and middle name (if applicable)

  • Item 2. Other names (maiden name, for example) or aliases 

  • Item 3. Full name in your native language

  • Item 3. Date of birth in mm/dd/yyyy format. For example, if your birthday is April 1, 1985, you would enter 04/01/1985

  • Item 5. Current age

  • Item 6. Place of birth, including the city or town, the province and the country

  • Item 7. Nationality (if you have dual nationality, provide both)

  • Item 8. Gender

  • Item 9. Marital status (Enter single if you were never married; married if you are currently married; widowed if your spouse is deceased; divorced if your marriage has been legally terminated and separated if you are married but are intending on or are currently in divorce proceedings. You must also enter the number of times you have been married.)

  • Item 10. If known, provide the permanent U.S. address where you intend to live. You should also provide the name of any person(s) currently living at this address, as well as the phone number.

  • Item 11. Provide the U.S. address where you would like your Permanent Resident Card (green card) mailed to, if different than the address provided in item 10, as well as the phone number.

  • Item 12. Present occupation 

  • Item 13. Present address, including house or apartment number, street name, city or town name, province name and country. Also provide your present contact number.

  • Item 14.Provide your spouse’s maiden or family name, first name and middle name. 

  • Item 15. Provide your spouse’s date of birth (mm/dd/yyyy format) and place of birth

  • Item 16. Enter your spouse’s address, if different from your own

  • Item 17. Indicate your spouse’s occupation

  • Item 18. Enter the date you and your spouse were married (mm/dd/yyyy format)

  • Item 19. Enter your father’s family name (last name), first name and middle name

  • Item 20. Provide your father’s date of birth (mm/dd/yyyy format)

  • Item 21. Provide your father’s place of birth

  • Item 22. Enter your father’s current address

  • Item 23. If your father is deceased, enter his year of death

  • Item 24. Provide your mother’s family name at birth (maiden name), first name and middle name

  • Item 25. Indicate your mother’s date of birth (mm/dd/yyyy format)

  • Item 26. Provide your mother’s place of birth

  • Item 27. Indicate your mother’s current address

  • Item 28. If your mother is deceased, enter her year of death

  • Item 29. Enter the names, dates, places of birth and current addresses (if different from your own) of all your children, if applicable 

  • Item 30. Indicate all locations you have lived for a minimum of six months since you turned 16 years of age, including places in your originating country. Present residence should be listed first. 

  • Item 31a. Name any individuals named in items 14 and 29 who intend to accompany you to the U.S. 

  • Item 31b. Name any individuals names in items 14 and 29 who intend to follow you to the U.S. after you immigrate

  • Item 32. List all of the jobs you have had in the past ten years, including employer name, location, job title and dates of employment, starting with current employment. You should also indicate your planned occupation when you arrive in the U.S. 

  • Item 33. All academic institutions you have attended should be listed here, including names of the schools, dates, courses studied and degrees or diplomas earned. 

  • Item 34. Indicate if you have served in the military, and if so, which branch, dates of service, rank/position and specialty or occupation

  • Item 35. Provide all of the previous trips or residents in the U.S, including dates, locations, type of visa and Alien Number (A-number, if known)

Form DS-230 Part II

Part II of Form DS-230 is also self-explanatory. A brief overview is as follows. 

  • Item 36. Family (last) name, first name and middle name

  • Item 37. Other names used (maiden name, for example) or aliases

  • Item 38. Full name in native alphabet (if not Roman letters)

  • Item 39. Enter the name, address, telephone number and email address of the petitioner

  • Item 40a-l. Here, you will need to indicate if you are part of any class or group considered inadmissible to the U.S. Indicate “yes” or “no” for each question. 

  • Item 41. Indicate where you have been charged, arrested or convicted of a crime or offense. If ‘yes,’ provide an explanation.

  • Item 42. Indicate if you have ever been denied admission to the U.S. at a port of entry. If ‘yes,’ provide an explanation.

  • Item 43a. Indicate if you have applied for a Social Security Number (SSN). If you hAVE received one, provide the number you were given.

  • Item 43b. Here, provide your consent to disclosure

  • Item 44. Indicate if you received assistance with completing the application

  • Item 45. Indicate what type of immigrant you are (family, employment, diversity and special category) and preference

Once the document is filled out, sign, date and submit it to the Department of State via a U.S. Consulate.

The takeaway

While you wait to hear back about your visa application, you can prepare for your new life in the U.S. There are many more important documents and steps to take before you’ll be ready to move to the country however. For example, did you know that your credit history doesn’t automatically transfer with you when you immigrate? That means that companies and financial institutions will have no record of your previous financial history. In turn, that can make it very difficult to secure loans, secure an apartment lease, mobile phone companies, and other service providers.  

Nova Credit's Credit Passport® technology helps people bring their credit history with them when they move to the U.S. While your credit history won’t be transferred to national bureau databases, Nova Credit partners with companies to include information from your Credit Passport® in applications to make it easier for newcomers to get approved for credit cards, loans and other products. Once you establish a U.S. credit account using the credit you’ve earned, you can start building a local credit history. Nova Credit currently connects to international credit bureaus in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, Nigeria, South Korea and the UK.

Moved to the U.S. from Australia, Kenya, or the Philippines?

Start your U.S. credit building journey on the right foot

A strong credit score helps you access a lot in the U.S., and a credit card is an easy way to start building your U.S. credit score. Access your free international credit score, and see which U.S. credit cards could be right for you. No SSN required

Select your country

More from Nova Credit:

The ultimate guide to the F-1 visa

The ultimate guide to the H-1B visa

The ultimate guide to the J-1 visa

The ultimate guide to the L-1 visa

The ultimate guide to the O-1 visa

How to check your USCIS case status

How to read the Visa Bulletin

How to build credit after moving to the US

How to get a social security card

How to get an apartment with no credit history

How to immigrate to the United States

No credit check cell phone plans