If you are neither a non-immigrant visa holder or immigrant visa holder, there is an additional way you can visit U.S. and permanently move there. Another alternative way through is the Diversity Visa that gives people chances and allows the people from other countries having low immigration rates to the U.S. to be selected randomly and will be given the chance of permanent residency.
This article will be discussing about the Diversity Visa Program, what are the requirements needed, details on application process, fees, and other important details.
What is the Diversity Visa Program?
The Diversity Visa Program is administered by the Department of State to pave way to those immigrants from other countries with low immigration rate to the U.S. to increase its diversity. It is also known as the Green Card Lottery. Just like lottery, immigrants are randomly selected and will have the opportunity for permanent residency. Take note that not everyone is lucky to have this chance of being selected to get a U.S Green Card, so that is why it is like the lottery.
Only a number of people, approximately around 50,000 each year are randomly selected- only people from those countries that barely sends immigrants to the United States-and get their permanent residency (also known as the “green card”). Fortunately, the said program is not specific to which country or continent are allowed, so all regions can apply. What’s limited is the number of Diversity Visas and the U.S. Citizenship Immigration Services or (USCIS) mainly decides on how many visas will be allowed for.
Additionally, only those people from countries that have not migrated to the U.S that much are allowed to apply for it. Also, the USCIS gives not more than 7% of these visas to one specific country. It must be equally distributed.
If you are given the DV visa, automatically, you are then considered a Lawful Permanent Resident or LPR of the U.S. So basically, you can then live in the U.S. for good, find a good job, get licenses, and even get married and have children there. And then later on can apply cor citizenship.
Requirements for the Diversity Visa
When it comes to eligibility so you can apply for the Diversity Visa and permanently live in the U.S., applicants must be eligible and to comply to the requirements. Below are the given criteria:
- You must come from the countries that are allowed for the DV Program application. You can find the list of countries here.
- When applying as the head of the household, you must be at least 18 years old, which means that if your age is 18 and above and have younger children, you can apply together.
- Must have completed your high school with diploma.
- Or you must have work experience of at least 2 years in the last 5 years in the occupation that falls into the Job Zone 4 or 5 as a requirement of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
However, if you do not meet these criteria, definitely you cannot apply and will be disqualified if you apply.
Diversity Visa Application: How to apply?
One can apply for the DV Program every year on a specific time of the year. Specifically, and usually, it is around October or November and will be done in two years. For example, you apply in the year 2018 to get the visa and then move to the U.S. in the year 2020.
When applying for the DV Program, take note, that the procedure is straightforward, and that there is only one online application which basically asks about the person’s personal profile, background, and other personal information including name, date of birth, education, marital status, employment information and history, family background, etc.
You can find the Green Card registration here. The opportunity like this shouldn’t be missed, so when the State Department announces they opened for the visa applications, you must then grab that chance and fill out as soon as possible. The application is so simple and is also free. This simply means that if you meet the criteria, you can also answer questions and simply provide the basic information needed and it’s done.
Once you have submitted the application, you will receive a unique confirmation code or number. It is important not to lose the number given because it will be used to check your status and to see if you were selected. This also will used to apply for the DV visa. It you lose the confirmation number given, the State Department will never send you again and you will never know if you were selected or not.
How will I know if I am selected?
If you happen to apply during the application time on October-November, you will find out if you were selected or not in May the next year. Waiting time will be around 6-7 months for the State Department to process the applications including posting of results as well.
You may also check the your status in the DV lottery website using the given confirmation number. If you lost the confirmation number, you might as well lost the chance to migrate and permanently live in the U.S.
What to do if I am selected?
When you got the confirmation and check your status, there you can see whether you were selected or not. If yes, you may then apply for the Diversity Lottery Visa. While in the process, you should not sell your properties, house, car, or resign from your job or book a flight right away because being selected doesn’t guarantee a visa automatically. You have to undergo such process first.
Steps to apply for the Diversity Visa:
Submission of visa application form
Firstly, submit the Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa Application online. You need the confirmation number so you can access the online application. You have to enter the confirmation number without zeros (example your number is 2018AF0000012345, you enter ‘2018AF12345’.) You will also receive get a confirmation page once you submit the form.
Compilation of the supporting documents
Once everything is set and ready for the next step, prepare all the supporting documents and get ready for the interview. All your documents should be in English and must be the original copies. If your documents are not in English, you must have a professional translator to translate it into English and it must be grammatically correct. Though the U.S. Embassy requires original copies, it is also a good idea to bring some extra set of copies just in case they need it. Documents required are as follows:
- Original passport
- Two copies of photographs per person of you and your family if you are applying together with them
- Proof of your education and employment records
- Birth certificates of you and your family
- Court, prison, and police records
- Marriage certificates or proof of a divorce
- Military records if you were in the military
- Any additional documents that the U.S Embassy might require from you
Complete a medical examination
When you reach this process of obtaining the U.S. immigrant visa, you must undergo complete medical exam and also includes getting some vaccines and filling the necessary forms for medical examination, and these should be filled out by the licensed physician once you are done with the check-ups.
Interview and Appearance
After you are examination, the U.S. Embassy will schedule you for an interview which you must attend and bring all the necessary documents they require. The documents needed are the following:
- Appointment Letter from the Diversity Visa website you receive when you check your status and find that you were selected
- Form DS-260 confirmation letter
- Passport and photographs
- Medical examination forms
- Supporting documents
With all the documents, you will be interviewed and will ask you several basic questions by the consular officer and they are the ones to determine if you are fit for the DV visa or not. The decision will be made after the interview or in few weeks you will be notified.
Diversity Visa Fees?
There were no fees needed when you apply for the Diversity Visa Lottery initially, however, when you’re selected, you must pay an application fee. The fee amounting to $330 is for the Diversity Visa processing. You should pay the fee or else you will not be processed. And also, you need to be prepared for the additional fees like for the fee for translating your documents. Your visa will not be processed if you do not pay this fee.
What to do if I get the Diversity Visa?
Once you are already set, you’re almost ready to move. When you get the Diversity Visa stamped on your passport, it is when you can finally start making arrangements to move to the U.S. You may book your tickets already and pay the necessary USCIS fee which is $220 and you must pay for it only after you received your visa.
When it’s your first time to travel to the U.S., the immigration will have go through your documents, so make sure you bring all necessary documents with you. The U.S immigration officials have the right to deny you entry into the U.S if they suspect or found out that you are not travelling legally or your documents are lacking.
When you get there int the U.S. you have to submit and file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status to USCIS which also costs $1,140. If you pay for this form, the USCIS will notify you through your mail about your Green Card after a few weeks.
How to Avoid DV Lottery Scams?
Indeed many people don’t know the exact process of getting the U.S.A Visa and other visas, and scammers are taking advantage of it, poses as an agency and asking personal information and so much fees that they even don’t know existed.
If you are one of the many applicants for a diversity visa lottery, it is good to know how to avoid scams like these.