DV lottery: now that you’ve been selected
You applied for the DV lottery last year. After a long wait, you were selected in the lottery – congratulations! Now comes the difficult part. If you are asking yourself, “Wait, didn’t I just win the lottery? What ‘difficult’ part are you talking about?” the reality is that the permanent residence process is just beginning. You will still have to successfully apply for an immigrant visa via consular processing or by adjustment of status before the visa numbers (or time) runs out.
When an applicant is selected in the DV lottery, he or she is actually one of about 100,000 selectees who will need to follow additional steps. Of that group, about 50,000 will end up being the true ‘winners’. This is because some of the first 50,000 persons who are selected will not qualify for an immigrant visa or will decide not to pursue their cases to visa issuance. However, this also means that there will not be a sufficient number of visas for all those who are initially selected. So before you even begin the next steps in the process, you are already in a race to the finish.
Additionally, you must apply for and obtain your immigrant visa (or adjust your status, if you are already in the U.S.) by the end of the designated fiscal year, which usually runs from October 1 through September 30. There is no carry-over of DV benefits into the next year if you do not obtain a visa by the end of the fiscal year. This requirement also extends to your spouse and/or children, if applicable.
Where to begin?
The first step after being selected in the lottery, if you are applying for permanent residence through a consulate abroad, is to complete and return a Form DSP-122, Supplemental Registration for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, and Parts I and II of the Form DS-230, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, to the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC).
Upon receipt of the immigrant visa application, the KCC initiates security checks for you and any of your derivative beneficiary(s). It then sets up a visa appointment at the appropriate consulate and provides instructions on how to obtain medical examinations. The appointment is not made, however, until after the Department of State (DOS) has indicated (through publication of its ‘Visa Bulletin’) that a visa is available to you based on your regional rank order case number.
In addition to initiating security checks and making your visa appointment, the KCC also reviews your DV supplemental registration materials and immigrant visa application and makes note of any deficiencies or potential ineligibilities. It then forwards this information to the consulate.
If you are an applicant currently living in the U.S., the process varies slightly in that you may not submit your adjustment of status application until the DOS Visa Bulletin indicates that a visa is available. Only after the adjustment application is submitted, are security checks initiated.
In addition to meeting the criteria for visa issuance (or adjustment of status), such as proving you have a high school degree or its equivalent, you and any applicable family member(s) must also meet the requirements of admissibility. This includes proving that you and your family will not become a public charge. If you cannot do this on your own, you may need to submit a Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, with an accounting of the sponsor’s funds or other resources.
You will also need to overcome any other basis for inadmissibility, such as a criminal background or the three- or ten- year bar, if applicable. If you are in the U.S. and applying for an adjustment of status, you also have to prove that you entered the U.S. legally, have maintained lawful status since your last entry, and do not have any unauthorized employment.
Law firms with extensive experience in the immigration field, such as Immigration Law Associates, are best able to assist you in filing for an immigrant visa or adjustment if status based on success in the visa lottery. Please contact our office if you have any questions or need help in filing the applications. Please contact our office at (847) 763-8500 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping you with your case.