Can I still get a green card through the diversity visa? Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, Missouri and San Diego, California. Hope you’re doing well and in today’s video we’re going to talk about green cards or immigrant visas based on the diversity visa.
Now, the diversity visa is much maligned, much attacked. Members of Congress and certainly President Trump certainly were always badmouthing the diversity visa. But as of now, the diversity visa is alive and well. Now, there’s been a lot of litigation over diversity visa delays last year that kept people who should have been able to come to the United States from getting a immigrant visa and/or a green card. But you can still get an immigrant visa based on the diversity visa and you can still adjust your status in the United States if you are selected in the diversity visa.
So, for those of you who don’t know, the law allows people from underrepresented countries. So people from countries that aren’t that popular in the United States. In other words, the government takes the countries, the top 20 countries from which people are already in the United States, and then if you’re not from one of those 20 countries, you can apply every October for the diversity visa. You can and you should if you want to come to the United States.
Now, one of the things that I talk about on these videos a lot is immigrant intent. And if you have immigrant intent, that can keep you from getting a visit visa or a non-immigrant visa, like a student visa, that can keep you from getting those visas because you’ve demonstrated immigrant intent by filing for a green card. But one of the things about the diversity visa is it doesn’t count as immigrant intent because it’s such a long shot.
But I wanted to make this video because people are wondering: If I have a very high diversity visa number and I’m in the United States or I’m overseas, is it likely that I’m still going to be able to get a diversity visa or a green card?
And so what that means is when you get selected in the lottery, that’s a good thing. So, the way it works is you apply in October and then you find out the following May that you’ve been selected. And when you find out, you’re put into one of four quadrants of the world. Like Asia, Africa, those kinds of things. There’s four of them. And then you’re assigned a number. Your number could be one and your number could be 9,412. And if you’re number one, then when the fiscal year starts in October, you can apply for the diversity visa right away. Or you can apply for adjustment of status right away if you’re in the United States in lawful status. But if you have a very high number, then you have to watch the visa bulletin each month to see when your number becomes current. But usually the numbers all become current around June or July, give or take a month or two. And once they’re current, then you can apply.
And USCIS does do a pretty good job of trying to rush through those cases of people that are selected in the diversity visa for adjustment. The embassies are still really, really backlogged and I think there’ll be problems this year for people who are selected. But if you made it through a lottery and if you have a high number, you should still do everything you can. Because if you come, you get a green card, which means you’re at the second highest level of immigration status in the United States. So, it’s very, very worthwhile. If you’re married, your spouse and your children under the age of 21 can come with you. And of course, if you are applying and you’re married, you should both apply because if either one of you get selected, then you both can come.
So, the diversity visa is alive and well, there’s always talk about doing away with it. But as of now, you can apply for adjustment status. If you were selected, you can apply for an immigrant visa. And in October every year, you can apply for a diversity visa. So, still going strong, still a viable means of coming to the United States and getting very high up on the immigration ladder. If you have questions about this, give us a call: (314) 961-8200. You can email us at [email protected] Be sure to join us in our Facebook group, which is called Immigrant Home. If you like this video, we ask that you please share it out on social and that you subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever we make videos like this one. And don’t forget on most Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 1:00 central time, you’ll find me answering as many of your immigration law related questions as possible on those channels. Thanks a lot and have a great day.