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630-932-9100
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Mevorah Law Offices LLC
630-932-9100
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What is the Diversity Visa Lottery?

Posted on in Immigration
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diversity visa lottery, Chicago Immigration AttorneysThere are several myths surrounding the diversity visa lottery, and people may be turned off from applying for it because they do not know the full story. However, the diversity visa lottery gives many a chance to immigrate to the United States when they might otherwise not have the chance.

The Facts

Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act allows for the creation of a class known as ‘diversity’ immigrants, who must come from countries with historically low U.S. immigration rates. This disqualifies many of the most populous countries on earth, such as China, India and Mexico. Diversity visas (DVs) are given out in six different delineated regions, but a country may not receive more than 7 percent of the total for any given fiscal year.

There is no cost to enter the DV lottery, but an entry does signify interest in immigrating to the United States. As such, if you are denied and then later apply for a nonimmigrant visa in a different context, a consul may factor that into consideration. If people applying for nonimmigrant visas show too few ties to their home countries or too much interest in remaining in the U.S., their application may be denied.

Potential Issues

There have been numerous issues with the DV program since its inception, and various lawmakers openly advocate for its discontinuation. Reasons given for this include a tendency toward bureaucratic tangles and even security dangers and outright fraud, with some pointing to the case of Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, who killed two and wounded four in a 2002 shooting in Los Angeles as proof that DV application standards are too lax.

In 2007 and 2009, lawmakers introduced bills to eliminate the DV program entirely, but neither passed. They did, however, highlight inefficiencies in the program, most notably that there was no way (until the last few years) to check the status of an application.

After DV-2010, a system was introduced to provide confirmation numbers but the system routinely failed and provided nothing. Also, U.S. authorities have done little or nothing during the life of the program to try and crack down on scams and fraudsters who claim that for a fee, they can get someone a diversity visa. Not unlike notarios who prey on undocumented immigrants, DV fraudsters routinely try to extort or lie to applicants to either get money or to scare a winning applicant away from pressing his or her green card claim.

Perhaps the most long-lasting objection to the DV program as it currently operates is made by immigrants who have come to the U.S. under color of other visas, such as H1Bs. People in these situations allege that the diversity program is simply unfair—it hands permanent resident status to people who have not completed any of the time-consuming and difficult steps to obtain legal status in the U.S. beforehand, while long-term visa holders who work and pay taxes in the country may find themselves in legal limbo.

Contact an Immigration Attorney

If you have entered the diversity visa lottery for the next available fiscal year, or if you have been lucky enough to win a place, talking to a competent immigration attorney may be beneficial. The passionate Chicago immigration attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC are experienced, knowledgeable, and compassionate, and willing to do their best to help you. Contact us for a free consultation.

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