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Winning the Diversity Visa While in the U.S.

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What happens if I win the Diversity Visa Lottery and I am physically inside the United States? Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States out of our office here in St. Louis, Missouri. We had a question in the Facebook group about what happens if you win the Diversity Visa Lottery and you're in the United States. Well, the first question that you have to ask is, are you in valid non-immigrant status, and will you be in non-immigrant status validly throughout the processing of your diversity visa? And the diversity visa process itself can take a really long time.

Typically you apply in October, you find out in May the following year, and then if you are selected then the following October you're going to be put in line, and based on your line number you'll be able to adjust your status in the United States. But one thing that people sometimes forget is that just winning the Diversity Visa Lottery doesn't put you in status. So you're going to need to maintain your status all the way through.

So let's say we have a guy named Philippe. And let's say Philippe is from Bolivia, and Philippe is in the United States on an F1 visa, and Philippe applies for the Diversity Visa Lottery. Philippe is selected in May of the year, and then he receives his line number, and begins processing his green card application later in the fall.

He's going to have to get his interview and everything taken care of by the following September 30th but, more importantly, in order to adjust to the status, he's going to have to maintain that F1 status all the way through until the day he adjusts his status. So Philippe is going to want to continue going to school, he's going to want to maintain his status, and then if his line number becomes current, he's going to be able to apply for that green card, apply for a work card, and he's going to be able to hopefully get his interview taken care of before the September 30th deadline because if even if you get selected, if you don't get your green card taken care of. If you don't have your application interview complete, you're not going to be able to adjust your status.

So you have to maintain your status throughout. And once you apply, once you get receipted, your case is going to go along like any other adjustment. You're going to have a biometrics appointment, you don't need to make a separate biometrics appointment, and then you'll have your interview after the background check. And most immigration officers are aware of the deadline, and try to move cases in the diversity visa rather quickly. But if you're getting to July or August, and your case hasn't moved and your line number is current, you're going to probably want to talk to an immigration lawyer about trying to get your case resolved, because like I said, if you don't get it resolved by September 30th, it's as if you were never selected.

So we hope you found this helpful. If there are any questions about the diversity visa, give us a call at 314-961-8200. You can email us at Be sure to join us in our Facebook group. It's called Immigrant Home, and if you like this video, please be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, or whatever channel you're watching this on, so you get updates whenever we make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.

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