to all of you filing the DS260 online I'd like to share with you what I have been through.
I am filing an applicant from Canada, and the process through Montreal US embassy. I got the go to file the IV application after paying AOS and IV fees online.
First of all if you have a limited number of residence addresses and didn't visit the USA or visited a couple of times but still remember the addresses you lived at and the dates you entered and exited the US you are lucky and on the safe side. But if you are like me, over 45 and have been going and coming from the USA like trips to the supermarket, AND don't remember the dates and addresses you lived at since you were 16 years old (which in my case over 14 different places), then you are into a funny ride into wonderland.
the application in itself is long and you should be prepared well with all the information before hand because while you are entering info you will be faced with the annoying message of (time out and ready to log off from the application site for inactivity) every few minutes.
Second, each line in the answer sheets should have a value entered otherwise the page won't be saved and won't allow you to get to the next one unless the previous page is completely and accurately filled. This in itself will bring us to the issue of accuracy, see, the visa application center wants the exact month and year (and in the case of US entry the exact dates), so you don't have the chance to guess or say (approximately) because they consider it somehow inaccurate and could lead to deny the application (should they consider the mistake a lie). And for people in my situation over 45 and have to remember the addresses I lived at since I was 16 years old, part of those addresses are in different countries where I studied and some are in the states before I immigrated to Canada 20.5 years ago!!
I find it unfair NOT to be able to say (to the best of my knowledge, or I guess) since for sure most of such information is lost or forgotten overtime and there is no way to retrieve it, in my case I was lucky some how since I am a document freak, and self employed since 23 years ago, I kept all receipts and addresses etc. in files and files and boxes that contain papers and tax filing documents. and in most cases correspondences from the Revenue Canada and the government, which by default bare my address.
so that took care of the Canadian part, about the US part I discovered 2 sheets of a credit report (almost falling apart) that is 23 years old and was stored in my work truck in a filing cabinet through 7 years of Canadian winter, it contained my 4 addresses in the USA when I was going to school with zip cod and all !!!!!!.
Speaking of luck, listen to this, when I came to the last 5 USA entry and exit i was able to come up with dates, for the last three it easy since 2 of them were in the last 2 months and 3 in the last year, I needed the dates for the oldest 3 which I wasn't able to do so, I even thought about contacting the border to ask but i was told they don't offer help. So after thinking over and over i came up with an Idea, I have an old Iphone, and each time I cross the border with my family to visit my wife's relatives in the states in holidays I used to get that welcome SMS from my cellular provider about roaming rate offers in the USA approx. 5 minutes after crossing the border into the USA, and there they were stored in the SMS folder with a time and date stamp. voila !!! I was able to get not only the date, but the time too!!
So the luck concept doesn't stop here, in 2010 I was thinking about shredding all my old documents that go back more than 7 years (including all the 4 boxes of junk, letters, addresses and so on) because I never thought of immigrating to the USA and keep in mind that my wife is a US Citizen and was always sweetly nagging to consider the move but I was always reluctant because I see that since I am self employed and own my business I always worried about starting over in the states and was concerned about finances since I am the only financier of my family and my wife doesn't work outside home, she has a more harder job of raising our daughter and helping her with school and so on, that in itself is a harder job but its return is not financial but moral and higher in value.
to make the story short, for some reason I didn't shred those boxes, and the Iphone I was thinking of giving it to my daughter after erasing the info on it to use it to play games at home ended up battery dead in the pocket of my hanged coat. They both ended up to be valuable tools in solving this problem!!!!
see, there is a reason for every step and thought and decision you make in your life regardless of how big or small, non sense like forgetting to shred papers or forgetting about your old iphone in your hanged coat in the closet.
all it takes is clear your mind and do your best and all will go easy but you need to have that type of forensic attitude of thinking :idea: to gather lost information.
My next step of the nightmare is immunization, since I don't have any proof of immunization but the scars on my arm and hip I am in for a long and painful scenario of shots, boosters, and immunization blood test.
its almost over and there will come the day when I enter Elis island like Vito Corleone (the Godfather) and be asked for my immunization papers, then have that (X) chalk mark on my jacket in the US embassy in Montreal welcoming me as an immigrant to the land of opportunity.
I wanted to share with you my thoughts may be I can help somehow.
good luck everyone :yes: