Green Card lottery winners should take action now

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program), or Green Card lottery, allows a maximum of 50,000 randomly selected Immigrant Visas to be made available on an annual basis. The results for the DV-2017 Green Card lottery were released by the U.S. Department of State on May 3, 2016. Merely being selected in the lottery does not guarantee that you will ultimately receive a Green Card. Once selected, applicants must complete various steps in the immigrant process in order to qualify and receive a Green Card. After completing these additional steps, many applicants that are selected in the lottery are ultimately found to be inadmissible and ineligible to immigrate to the United States.

What to do if you’ve been selected in the lottery?

Take action as soon as you can. As an applicant intending to immigrate to the U.S., you'll be required to prepare additional documents and complete numbers checks to ensure that you meet all requirements to become a new U.S. immigrant. Getting things in order as soon as you can is important. If selected in the lottery, you must have been issued your Immigrant Visa (or have Adjusted status if currently in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa) before the end of the fiscal year of the lottery in which you were selected.

Lottery winners located outside of the U.S. will be required to complete their Green Card application through U.S. Consular processing. Those selected as a lottery winner will need to confirm their qualifications for an Immigrant Visa, and being to prepare and submit their application documents. You will also need to take steps to prepare for the visa interview once scheduled by the Consulate. Care and thoroughness throughout all stages of the immigrant application process should be prioritized. Mistakes could potentially cost applicants a Green Card. For those lottery winners already located within the U.S., an Adjustment of Status application can be prepared, instead of undertaking Consular Processing abroad. In addition to first meeting other requirements, the Adjustment application should be filed directly with the United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS).

In each of these scenarios, moving quickly will help increase the chances of you obtaining a Green Card. Acting as soon as possible to obtain the necessary information and documents will also allow more time to address unexpected immigration concerns that may arise along the way.

What if you've applied to the lottery numerous times and have still not been selected?

The Green Card lottery is a completely random process, where winning applicants are selected by a computer. The factors which can impact an applicant’s chances of being selected fluctuate each year. An applicant who has filed for several consecutive years will therefore have different odds of being selected each year. It's therefore critical that a lottery application is prepared accurately to ensure it is not denied due to small preventable errors.

Andrew David

Andrew David is the principal of David Immigration Law PLLC, and one of very few dual-citizen lawyers qualified to practice law in both the United States and Australia. Andrew advises individuals, small- and medium-sized businesses, and large multinational companies on U.S. immigration law and procedure.