Okay, I've been researching this for myself and my friend all day based on the original DCF posts here and the embassy site. Here is a more up to date guideline to go by (although double check the sites and links, as I have compiled this for people with fairly simple circumstances: no divorces, children, etc.)
Filing from the UK -> DCF (Direct Consular Filing)
Processing time -> up to 6 months
Assets Needed -> Secondary sponsor (located in US) with income of 125% of
national poverty line for their household size or liquid assets of three
times the national poverty line**
Filing from the US -> processing time 9-13 months
Assets Needed -> Sponsor located in US (you or other) with income as above
INFO FOR DCF
I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative)
G-325A (Biographical Information Sheet)
DS-230-I (Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration)
DS-2001 (Notification of Applicant Readiness)
I-864 (Affidavit of Support)
1. File a Petition (form I-130) & receive a case number
2. Request Police Certificate
3. File DS-230 part 1
4. File DS-2001
5. Collect Affidavits of Support & materials
6. Receive ‘Packet 4’ with interview date
7. Get Medical Exam (applicant only)
8. Attend the Interview
9. Receive Visa
10. Port of Entry
TOTAL ESTIMATED COST-> approximately £800
1. File a petition – in return you will get case number (which must be put on subsequent forms to be processed) along with further instructions
a. Forms and guidance: http://www.usembassy.org.uk/dhs/uscis/i130filing.html
b. Fee is $355
c. Checklist and supporting documents
i. Checklist for petition
ii. Credit Card Payment Form or Cashiers Check
iii. Form I-130
iv. Petitioner’s proof of US citizenship (photocopy of passport main page)
v. Petitioner’s proof of residence in the UK (photocopy of visa)
vi. Photocopy of Marriage Certificate
vii. Form G-325A with passport size photo– Biographic Information for petitioner
viii. Form G-325A with passport size photo – Biographic Information for beneficiary
ix. First class self-addressed stamped envelope
2. Order police certificate http://www.acpo.police.uk/certificates.asp
a. Fee is £35
b. Processing can take up to 40 days
3. File biographic data form DS-230 (Part 1 only). You will get information back about supporting documents needed. (Affidavit of support from US form I-864)
4. Send form DS-2001 (DS-2001 is a checklist of the supporting documents you will provide at the interview. Do not send them with the application, just tick on the form what you will supply – take originals and a copy to the interview). If it will not take long to assemble these documents, you can save time by sending the DS-2001 along with the DS-230-I. After the Immigrant Visa Unit receives both DS forms, they will send an interview date with around a month’s notice.
5. Collect relevant supporting documents
a. Petitioner’s passport
b. Applicant’s passport
c. Petitioner’s birth certificate
d. Applicant’s birth certificate
e. Applicant’s police certificate
f. Petitioner’s & Applicant’s photographs (Passport quality photographs - http://www.passportphoto.co.uk/
is a place right near the embassy and have been in business for ages.)
g. Evidence of support (forms I-864 and supporting documents)*
h. Marriage certificate
i. Cover Letter
6. Immigrant Visa Unit will advise you concerning the scheduling of the medical examination and the appointment for the formal visa interview.
a. Schedule medical appointment promptly as there could be a two week wait for the appointment
7. Receive medical examination***
a. Fee £200 plus cost of vaccinations
b. Have vaccination records with you if possible
c. Must be done at one of two London locations at least 5 days before interview
8. Go to Interview
a. Visa Processing Fee $400 (or GBP equivalent)
b. Required courier & envelop Fee £14 and up
c. Take supporting documents and form DS-230 (Part 2 unsigned)
9. Your passport with visa will be mailed back to you and is valid for up to 6 months. An envelope will also be mailed with your visa - Do not open envelope!
10. Port of Entry with brief interview – give them the visa and unopened envelope (may have a sealed envelop containing chest x-ray from medical exam to give them as well)
a. If you stated in your paperwork that you would like a SSN upon entry, the process will be started here
b. A temporary I-551 stamp (the stamp equivalent of a green card) will be stamped in the Applicant’s passport. This is valid for 1 year and can be used to enter the country until his green card arrived.
c. The officer will then stamp the passport with an IR-1 stamp (Immediate Relative stamp - This stamps means the Applicant’s permanent residence status is unconditional because it is based on a marriage that was more than two years old on the day you entered the US)
More Info: http://www.usembassy.org.uk/cons_new/visa/iv/ivprocess.html
Detailed steps: http://www.usembassy.org.uk/cons_new/visa/iv/ds2001.html
* 1. As the petitioner, you are required by law to file an I-864 even if you do not earn enough income. If you do not earn enough income, you may add the value of your assets and/or income and assets of your household members, if they are willing. If this still does not meet the federal poverty guidelines, a joint sponsor will be required to file an I-864.
**Poverty Guidelines at: http://www.uscis.gov/ilink/docView/SLB/DATAOBJECTS/I_864P.pdf
- but may be
changed as these are an extensions of 2009’s figures.
Sponsor in the US must earn an income of at least 125% of the poverty line
for their household size. Alternatively, liquid assets worth three times the
amount of the poverty line will qualify.
2. The Affidavit of Support, form I-864, is required to show that an intending immigrant has adequate means of financial support while in the United States and is not likely to become a public charge.
3. The sponsor/joint sponsor’s obligation continues until the sponsored immigrant becomes a U.S. citizen, can be credited with 40 qualifying quarters of work, departs the United States permanently, or dies. Divorce does not terminate the obligation.
4. There is no limit to how many sponsors the Applicant may have, however, each joint sponsor must meet the income requirement of the Federal poverty guidelines for your household size.
5. Have your US sponsor fill out the affidavit and include all the evidence they need to provide and have them put it in a sealed envelope and send it to you in another envelope.
6. All the affidavits go with the applicant on the interview day.
7. You will need to include your US tax records for the last 3 years. If you do not have them handy, you can either request them through the IRS website, or you can visit the Embassy in London and get them through the IRS section there. You must visit when they have "walk-in" hours though, which are Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 10-2, or Wednesdays 2-4.
8. To save time you can also go to the Embassy to have your I-864 signed in front of a notary. You can do this on the day of your final interview, but it may save time to do it ahead of time, and it is a free service.
***In order to assist the panel physician, and to avoid delays in the processing of an immigrant visa, all immigrant visa applicants should have their vaccination records available for the panel physician's review at the time of the immigrant medical examination.
The medical examination is performed at one of two medical centres in London. The medical examination cannot be performed by the applicant's own physician.
The medical examination must take place before the visa interview. If you attend the Embassy without having attended the medical examination, the interview will be cancelled and you will be required to reschedule for a later date.
The medical results will be couriered to the Embassy within approximately 5 workdays of the examination. If the results have not been received by the time you attend the interview, provided the medical examination has taken place, action on your application will be suspended until such time that they are received.