Diversity Visa Lottery

When people visit me in my Boston immigration law office, I encourage anyone who is eligible to apply for the Department of State’s Diversity Visa lottery.  Yesterday, the Department of State’ announced the winners of the 2010 Diversity Visa lottery. Those who already applied for the DV Lottery can check online here to see whether they were lucky enough to be selected to receive one of the 50,000 visas granted each year.

But being selected does not mean that you will automatically get a green card and become a permanent resident.  What it does mean is that you will be eligible to go through a complex immigration process on the basis of being selected for the DV Lottery.

To obtain your permanent residency based on the DV Lottery, you must meet the following two conditions:

1.  You must have either a high school diploma or the equivalent.  Alternatively, you can show that within 5 years of applying, you have at least 2 years of work experience in a job requiring at least 2 years’ of training or experience.

2.  You must complete the green card or immigration visa process within the fiscal year.  If you are selected after filing for the most recent DV Lottery, the fiscal year runs from October 1, 2009 through September 30, 2010.  After that time period, under no circumstances will you be able to receive an immigrant visa, even if you were selected.

In addition, here are two important consideration for those pursuing a green card through the DV Lottery:

1.  If you’ve been selected for the Diversity Visa lottery, you may include your spouse and children on your green card or immigrant visa application.  This is true even if your marriage took place after you submitted your DV Lottery entry.

2.  Adjustment of status or consular processing?  If you have been selected to receive a DV Lottery visa and are outside the United States, you must apply for an immigrant visa through the Department of State and a U.S. Consulate abroad.  If you are in the U.S., you  you have 2 options: (1) apply for adjustment of status by filing Form I-485 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), or (2) follow the consular processing steps and obtain your green card at a U.S. Consulate abroad. Choosing the best option invovles juggling many factors.  An effective immigration attorney can help advise you on the best strategy.

If you’ve been selected to receive DV Lottery and need legal advice to overcome the hurdles that still stand between you and your green card, please call me in my Boston immigration law office at (617) 722-0005.