Immigration Law Associates
Chicago Lawyer, Attorney: Green Card, H-1B, National Interest Waiver, J-1, Spouse, Fiance, Student Visa, VAWA, Citizenship, Removal, Korean, Polish, Japanese, Spanish

Frequently Asked Questions about the DV Lottery


 How many people are selected for diversity visas?
 After winning the lottery, how long does the selectee have to apply for a visa?
 After winning the lottery, what happens if the selectee dies?
 After winning the lottery, what happens if the selectee marries or has a child?
 If the selectee is in the US, can they adjust their status?
 If a selectee is abroad, how can they apply for their visa?
 What if the selectee forgot to list his or her spouse on the initial application?
 What if the selectee has been arrested? Are there any waivers of ineligibility?
 What if the selectee is already registered in another visa category?
 
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How many people are selected for diversity visas?
Random selection as a lottery winner does not guarantee that you will receive a visa. Selection merely means that you are eligible to apply for a diversity visa, and if qualified, you may be issued a visa.

At present, there are 50,000 diversity visas available each year. Because some of the first 50,000 persons who are selected will not qualify for visas or pursue their cases all the way to visa issuance, more than 50,000 entries are selected to ensure that all of the available visas are issued. Of course, this means that there will not be enough visas available for all selectees.

Each month, if visa numbers are available, visas are awarded to those applicants who are ready for issuance. Visa numbers are allocated by region and country to ensure that areas with a larger population do not use a disproportionate number of spaces.

Once all of the 50,000 diversity visas have been issued, the program ends for the year. In principle, visa numbers could be exhausted before September 30th, the last date for filing a visa application. Therefore, selectees who wish to receive visas must be prepared to act promptly on their cases.
 
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After winning the lottery, how long does the selectee have to apply for a visa?
Lottery winners are entitled to apply for visas only during the upcoming fiscal year. For instance, fiscal year 2016 will run from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016. There is no carry-over of DV benefits into the next year for selectees who do not obtain visas by the end of the fiscal year. This is true both for primary beneficiary and any dependents.
 
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After winning the lottery, what happens if the selectee dies?
The death of a lottery winner results in automatic termination of the diversity visa case. Any previously eligible dependents are no longer entitled to apply or enter the U.S.
 
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After winning the lottery, what happens if the selectee marries or has a child?
If any changes occur after winning the lottery such as a change of address, marriage, or a new child, the selectee must update the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) with the new information. They must also pay additional immigrant visa fees and submit DS-230 forms for all new dependents.

Please note that in an effort to root out fraud, the U.S. government closely scrutinizes any marriages that occur after an individual has won the lottery.
 
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If the selectee is in the US, can they adjust their status?
Yes. Applicants who are physically present in the United States may apply to the USCIS for adjustment of status to Permanent Resident as long as they are eligible for adjustment. Applicants must ensure that USCIS can complete all actions on their cases, including processing of any overseas dependents, before the program expires on September 30th of the current fiscal year. (For instance, no visa numbers for the DV 2016 program will be available under any circumstances after midnight EST on September 30, 2016).

Typically, it takes longer for a selectee to adjust status in the U.S. than to travel abroad and complete the process at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. However, while their adjustment of status applications in the U.S. are pending, the selectee and any dependents in the U.S. are eligible for employment authorization and a travel document.
 
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After winning the lottery, if the selectee is abroad, how can they apply for their visa?
A selectee living abroad must follow a series of steps known as “consular processing”. Visa applications must be made at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate of the applicant’s birth country or last foreign residence.

A diversity visa processing fee is only charged when a lottery winner reaches the point where they can apply for their visa. At that time, the applicant and any dependents must also pay immigrant visa fees. Both of these fees are non-refundable if the visa is refused. If the visa is granted, an additional visa issuance fee is then due.

Applicants who apply overseas will receive an appointment letter from the Kentucky Service Center four to six weeks before the scheduled appointment. Consular processing typically takes less time than adjusting status in the United States with USCIS.
 
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What if the selectee forgot to list his or her spouse on the initial application?
If a selectee was married at the time of lottery entry, failure to list a spouse will result in immediate disqualification and the refusal of all visas in the case.

Diversity Lottery entries must include the name, date, and place of birth of the applicant’s spouse and all natural children, as well as all legally adopted children and stepchildren who are unmarried and under the age of 21 on the entry date. Natural and adopted children must be listed even if the applicant is no longer legally married to their parent, and even if the spouse and/or child do not currently reside with them and will not immigrate with them. However, children who are already U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents need not be listed.
 
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What if the selectee has been arrested? Are there any waivers of ineligibility?
Diversity visa applicants are subject to all grounds of ineligibility for immigrant visas specified in the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), including certain criminal convictions. There are no special provisions for the waiver of any of these grounds except those normally provided in the INA, nor is there any special processing for diversity visa waiver requests.

If a selectee has close relatives who are U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents, other general waivers may be available to them, but time constraints in the application process usually make it difficult for applicants to benefit from such provisions
 
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What if the selectee is already registered in another visa category?
Even if the selectee is waiting for a visa number in another immigration category, they may still apply for a visa based on winning the lottery.
 

 

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