US Visas: What Must I Do If I Win The Dv Lottery?


If you win the DV lottery there are some things you need to do keep you in contention for the issuance of a visa. Being selected for the lottery is just the first step in the process and does not mean that you will be issued with a visa.

Processing your Application upon selection

If your name is selected in the lottery, you must act quickly to ensure that you are issued with a visa before the end of the fiscal year. If you are the principal applicant, then you and all your family members named in your initial entry and are applying for a visa must complete Form DS-260. You will need to enter your DV case number into the online DS-260 form to access and update the information about yourself and your family that you included in your DV entry. After submitting the Form DS-260 online, print the confirmation page. You must submit the confirmation page to your visa interview.

If your family circumstances have changed after you entered the lottery, for example, if you have gotten married or had a child, you will need to add your new family members to your case. Your “family member” refers to your spouse and all unmarried children under 21 at the time of your entry. If you had a spouse or an unmarried child under 21 prior to submitting your original entry, but failed to include them in your original entry, your case will be disqualified at the time of your visa interview.

The Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) will review your information, and will let you know if there are any problems with the data you have provided and may request you to update your information on your DS-260. KCC will schedule an appointment for you when your regional lottery rank number is about to become current and will notify you by e-mail that you should log into the Entrant Status Check (ESC) website to obtain your appointment letter and further instructions. 

 The Need for Speed

If your immigrant visa is not issued before the end of the fiscal year for which you were selected, your registration becomes void and you lose your chance of being issued a DV visa. The deadline is always the end of the fiscal year for the year in which you were selected and not when you entered the lottery. The US government’s fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30 of each year. Thus, if you entered the lottery between October and November, 2015, and you were notified of your selection in May, 2016, you will have up to September, 2017 to process your application. That means you will have a little over one year to process your application, attend your interview, and receive a visa.

The Foreign Affairs Manual on Visas provides that persons registered as DV immigrants are entitled to apply for visa issuance only during the fiscal year for which the application was submitted and is valid until midnight of the last day of the fiscal year for which the petition was submitted.  There is no carry-over of benefit into another year for persons who do not receive a visa during the fiscal year for which they registered. This means that if you are unable to process your application before the end of the fiscal year, your selection becomes void and you will no longer be able to rely on your selection as a basis to apply for a visa.

Another reason for speed is that the US government notifies twice as many people as there are for green cards available. Though 50,000 places are up for grabs, around 100,000 people are selected. The assumption is that people will not qualify, others may die, or may change their minds about immigrating. If the assumption is wrong and every one selected does mail in their applications, the green cards will be given on a first-come, first-served basis. It is therefore possible that even though you win the lottery, that year’s green card allotment will be used up before your interview is scheduled and so you will not get a DV visa.

To be continued…

Disclaimer: This article only provides general information and guidance on U.S. immigration law. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. The writer will not accept any liability for any claims or inconvenience as a result of the use of this information. The writer is an immigration law consultant and a practicing law attorney in Ghana. He advises on U.S., UK, and Schengen immigration law. He works part-time for Acheampong & Associates Ltd, an immigration law firm in Accra.