Diversity Visa Steps

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What happens after you are selected in the diversity visa lottery? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri.

Every year, the United States currently sets aside around 55,000, give or take a little bit, visas for immigrants from around the world who want to come to the United States on the diversity visa. When you win the diversity visa, you find out in May of that year.

The way that it works is there’s a window to apply, usually October a little bit into November, each fall. When the new fiscal year starts, which is October 1st, the lottery is submitted for, people ask to be included in the lottery. Then the lottery actually occurs in May of the following year.

So you apply in October; you find out in May and June. Right now, a lot of people are finding out that they are eligible for next year’s diversity visa. When they are selected, they are given a case number. That case number is like your place in line, your line ticket.

The world is divided up into four quadrants, Asia, Africa, Europe, and everybody else. You are placed into one of those categories based on your country of birth. Of course, not everybody’s eligible for the diversity visa, only people from underrepresented countries. If you’re from somewhere where there are a lot of those people in the United States, like Mexico or China, you’re not going to be able to participate. It’s the 20 most populous countries in the United States, those people are not eligible to apply.

But if you get selected, you find out in May, and then the following October, you’re going to have a case number. Your case number might be 202100001, with your country or your quadrant in the name, or it might be 45,000. If you’re number one, then you’re first in line.

On October 1st, the visa bulletin should come out. It’ll say that everybody with a number, let’s say, under 4,500, who are from Asia, that they can all apply right then for the diversity visa. You have to wait for your number to become current. If you’re in the United States, you can’t apply for adjustment until your number becomes current. If you’re overseas, you can’t apply for the immigrant visa. Of course, right now with President Trump, nobody’s applying for the immigrant visa, but we’re putting that to the side for the purposes of this video. Eventually your number’s going to become current. That’s when you can begin processing.

Important things. Apply in October. Find out in May. Then starting in September, you’re going to want to keep watching the visa bulletin. The numbers will change each month, and the numbers will hopefully rise up to your number.

Let’s say you were selected number 20,000. Probably in November, December or January, your number’s going to become current, and then you can apply by filing the DS-260. You probably could have done that already electronically, but then you can actually submit the visa application, or if you’re in the United States, you can apply for adjustment.

When you get selected in the diversity visa, you’re going to want to follow the visa bulletin every single month after you’re selected, so that you know exactly when to file, because you might have a short window, and you want to be very ready to file. You want to have all your documents in order. You want to have all your forms ready, so that as soon as your number becomes current, you file that bad boy, and get your case started.

We’ve been getting a lot of questions about the diversity visa this year. If you were selected, or you’re thinking about applying, give us a call, (314)961-8200. You can email us at info@hackingLawPractice.com. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home.

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