*Reference link to abbreviations/terms post*
A few weeks ago, I came across the terms DS-261 and DS-260 on VJ. I had never heard of them before.
Apparently, the DS-260 is a new online form of the DS-230 that is required at the NVC stage. And the DS-261 is the online version of the DS-3032.
As far as I know, this is how the new process works:
Once a case has reached NVC and the beneficiary and petitioner get their NVC case number, they fill out the online DS-261 form to choose the "agent" where all future correspondence is sent to. This is similar to emailing/mailing the DS-3032.
The rest of the process is the same (payment portal, sending in the I-864 package). Once the IV bill is paid, the DS-260 can then be filled out online. Once the form is filled out online, the rest of the package still has to be mailed in (passport pictures, birth certificate, marriage certificate, etc).
At this time though, the DS-260 is only open to a few consulates: Amman (Jordan), Athens (Greece), Baghdad (Iraq), Ciudad Juarez (Mexico), Lima (Peru), and Montreal (Canada). NVC eventually wants this online form to be available to every country, but this process just started in October 2010 and they're currently doing testing of this new method.
This is different from EP since you still have to mail in the I-864 package and part of the DS-230 package. You don't scan anything and email it in.
Personally, I wouldn't want to do the DS-260. I'd prefer to do EP. I've seen screenshots of the online form and it's spread across many, many pages. It's the same information that's on the DS-230, but just seems way longer. In the long run, for those unable to participate in EP, I would do the regular DS-230 just because you can pre-fill it out. The DS-260, I believe, you can only fill out once the IV bill appears as PAID. With the regular DS-230, as soon as the bill appears as PAID, you can mail off the DS-230 package instead of filling out the DS-260.
Anyways, just wanted to write up a post about these new online forms.
P.S. Less than 10 days till Ben is here! ^_^