The DS-260

It may sound a little paranoid to say that the DS-260 is an exhaustive document; that it outlines every waking (and many non-waking) moment of life.

But I should point out, in a previous job,I was required to go through “top-secret” clearance from the Australian Parliament, ASIO, the AFP and every other body that wanted to know what I did, to who, with what, forever.

And trust me, the DS-260 was more invasive.

Can you name every house you’ve lived in since you were I child? And the time (to the month) you lived there?

It was hard for me given I was journalist for over almost 15 years (it’s a transient life that follows the work). Nicole and I have lived in 18 houses since 1999. Add in the many before then, and my DS-260 was approaching novel length.

What about every job you’ve held for the last decade and the dates you were employed? What about every course you’ve taken? Every volunteer hour you’ve done? Every vaccination you’ve had? Every holiday you’ve taken?

Get the drift? It’s an extensive document.

And onto my mistake number two. Just like the application process I HAD TO FILL OUT THE FORM STRAIGHT AWAY.

A couple of days research and I was ready to go. Over the period of about six hours I filled in and checked two DS-260 forms and couldn’t wait to click send. And then… panic.

There was three big issues. Firstly, I had used my memory to fill in the birthplace of my parents and that of Nicole. I’m sure it was correct. But a quick check of our birth certificates proved I was wrong – in every case.

Secondly, we’d booked a holiday to the US the following month. But we couldn’t add it to the form (as it was in the future). That surely wouldn’t matter.

And finally, Nicole’s passport was due to expire at the end of the year. We wouldn’t need to worry about renewing it until then right?

Some quick research on and it was clear the answers were yes, yes, and maybe. Luckily the KCC allows you to unlock you DS-260, that that was done and resubmitted on July 1.

And then the waiting begins. People are called for interview based on the number their entry was drawn. So those with early numbers will be interviewed first, and those with high numbers may have to wait for up to a year – and then many will never get an interview anyway.

Luckily, we scored a low number (a very low number) so we now know that when the first round of interview are scheduled in mid-August we should be locked in for October (assuming unlocking the DS-260 didn’t cause too many delays).


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