The Diversity Immigrant Visa program is a United States government lottery program for those immigrants who want to obtain a U.S. Permanent Resident Card. Run by the U.S. Department of State (DOS), it is also known as the Green Card lottery. The Immigration Act of 1990 established the current Diversity Visa (DV) program. The Act was an amendment to the U.S. immigration law, which increased the number of legal immigrants allowed to enter the country each year. The majority of the lottery winners reside in another country and immigrate by obtaining an immigrant visa. However, each year there is a minority of lottery winners who are living in the United States with a nonimmigrant or a different legal status at the time their lottery number is selected. For these winners who are living within U.S. borders, USCIS processes applications for adjustment of status.
In order to adjust status under the Diversity Visa Program, an applicant must establish the following:
To check visa availability, the DOS issues a Visa Bulletin. This is a chart that shows which visa priority numbers are currently being processed. The bulletin estimates the waiting period for applicants to obtain their visas. When the allotted number of Diversity Immigrants is reached, visas will be available in that particular month for the applicants with Diversity Immigrant lottery ranking numbers below the designated cut-off numbers in their geographic areas.
Another part of the chart lists cut-offs for the Diversity Immigrant category for the next month. Once a monthly Visa Bulletin is published, any person with a lower number than the cut-off ranking number shown is eligible to file for adjustment of status. This way, lottery winners have the opportunity to file for an adjustment up to six or seven weeks before a visa number may be allocated.
Diversity visa winners must complete the adjustment of status process by Sept. 30 of the fiscal year to be eligible for that year’s lottery. It is important to note that visas cannot be transferred over to the next fiscal year. In addition, immigrants should be aware of fraudulent notices that may come in the form of emails suggesting they won the DV lottery and asking for payment.
Immigrating to the United States is a dream for many people from other countries. It can be a complex and long process, with many legal steps to accomplish. If you or your loved one is seeking asylum or has any questions about the Visa Bulletin, it is imperative that you speak to an Illinois immigration attorney as soon as possible. At the Mevorah Law Offices, we know U.S. immigration laws and how important they are to securing your future. To schedule your free consultation, call us today at 630-932-9100.
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