Millions of people from around the world who submitted entries for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (popularly known as the visa lottery) for fiscal year 2021, were looking forward to the arrival of May 5, 2020.
That was the day the U.S. Department of State was supposed to disclose the names of those selected who, if they advance in the process, could receive one of the 55,000 permanent resident cards, or green cards, available for immigrants with historically low rates of immigration to the U.S.
Participants in the DV-2021 lottery were instructed to visit the Entrant Status Check web page to learn if they were randomly selected by computer from among qualified entries.
But they will have to wait for the results. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of State has postponed the opening of the application to verify the visa lottery results until Saturday, June 6.
Delays in the visa lottery 2021
The U.S. foreign policy agency said in a news release that it’s focusing its resources “in our role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and are prioritized for the assistance to U.S. citizens overseas.”
“The delayed opening will not negatively impact our ability to pre-process and schedule DV-2021 interviews, which are scheduled to begin on Oct. 1, 2020,” said the agency.
It assured the public that, “The Department takes seriously our role in administering the Diversity Visa Program in accordance with all laws and regulations.”
Once it’s launched, the Entrant Status Check application for DV-2021 lottery applicants will remain open until Sept. 30, 2021, according to the instructions for the 2021 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program.
How do I find out if I won the green card lottery?
State Department officials stressed that the status check application is the only way the lottery winners are announced.
Notification letters will not mailed to selectees, while embassies and consulates will not provide a list of names.
To check on whether you won the visa lottery, the following is required:
▪ The confirmation number or code issued to you when you registered for the lottery
▪ Your surnames, just as you wrote them when you registered
▪ Your birth year, with all four digits
▪ The authentication code indicated by the system
What happens if I am selected in the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program?
According to government instructions, if your application is selected, you will be directed to a confirmation page that provides more in-depth guidance, including information on visa fees related to immigration to the United States.
To immigrate, lottery winners must first be eligible to be admitted to the U.S. as an immigrant and thus not likely to become a public charge.
Simultaneously, they must electronically submit Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application. Afterwards, the consular officer will ask them eligibility questions during the interview, which includes criminal and security topics.
For visa lottery winners who already reside in the United States in a non-immigrant or other legal status, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will process adjustment of status applications.
The first step to obtain a green card under the Diversity Visa Program for this group is to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status and the supporting evidence. However, USCIS offices have temporarily closed to the public in response to the coronavirus.
All the diversity visas available this fiscal year, including those for family members, must be issued no later than Sept. 30, 2021. Otherwise the foreign nationals selected will lose the right to obtain a green card through the 2021 visa lottery.
Daniel Shoer Roth is a journalist covering immigration law who does not offer legal advice or individual assistance to applicants. Follow him on Twitter @DanielShoerRoth or Instagram. The contents of this story do not constitute legal advice.
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