The Green Card Lottery or what is officially know as the Diversity Visa Lottery is one of top 3 read topics here as the demand each year to enter this around the world around October is staggering. Some of these articles we have talked about before include;
- What is the Green Card Lottery
- Current Green Card Lottery (DV-2014) Results
- Is the Green Card Lottery Ending?
- US Immigration Reform 2013 – Green Card Lottery
Each year millions of people enter to win the elusive Green Card to live and work in the US of which only 55,000 actually win. It is free and relative simple to enter but the chances of winning are very small but the prize of being able to live and work in the US is so tempting for many and possibly their only plausible route here.
However one topic we haven’t addressed directly other than through the endless comments is what happens after you win the lottery. It is a very murky process and just because you checked online or received a letter saying you won doesn’t actually guarantee anything. So some important points to note;
- Just because you have been notified officially you have won does not guarantee you a Green Card
- Beware Scam Notifications of winning and check at the official USCIS site and await your official notification by mail
- The US Department of State announces well over the 55,000 Winners because due to various forms of ineligibility like country, criminal history, education background, ability to support themselves, medical reasons, family connections, security risks and people who just never bother to continue the process a good portion of people who actually win never get a Green Card
- You will receive an official notification in the mailing address you put on your entry form and only then can you follow the instructions given. These usually arrive between April and June
- If you are allocated a higher winning number you may not get to complete any steps because the US determines the 55,000 green cards are already used up
- The entire process including the US Government portion of them running criminal background checks via the FBI on you must be completed by September 30 of that year
- If you are selected as a winner you can be issued your legal entry into the US after October 1 of that year and you will be mailed your actual Green Card(s) a few weeks later to your US address
- If you are within the US on another legal visa status and have complied with all conditions of that status you can do an Adjustment of Status within the US and have an interview and criminal check in the country
- If you are outside the US, a part of the process will be a US Consulate interview with all family members on the application present in your home country
If you are applying through a US Consulate in your home country, is for you have to complete and return two forms to the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC);
- DSP-122, Supplemental Registration for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program
- DS-230 (Part 1 & 2), Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration,
Once the KCC receives your Immigrant Visa Application Forms, the criminal background and security checks of you (and your family) which is largely done by the FBI. If that part is passed then a Visa appointment is setup at the US Consulate and also instructions on the relevant medical examinations that need to be conducted. Ultimately the appointment is not made until after the Department of State in the Visa Bulletin that a visa is available to you based on your case number. Prior to the interview the KCC will send any additional materials to your US Consulate case officer that they think is relevant and may need to be investigated further in your case.
If you are living in the US then you can’t do the Adjustment of Status process until the Visa Bulletin indicates a visa number is available based on your case number. Then you will file along with the appropriate fees the;
- I-485 (Adjustment of Status)
- I-765 (Employment Authorization) *optional
- I-131 (Advance Parole – Travel) *optional
It is at this point the security check portion is initiated and requests for Biometrics is requested.
In either case the form I-134 may need to file as affidavit of support from a US Citizen or legal resident if you are deemed to not have sufficient funds and/or the means to support yourself in the US. Ultimately as mentioned all this has to completed by September 30 and can result in missing out even if is the US Government who is completely at fault for the delay.