Up to 55,000 foreign nationals and their families from around the world will have the chance to legally immigrate to the United States and achieve the American Dream with a green card in hand in 2021, thanks to one of the most popular visa programs.
After a month-long delay due to the coronavirus crisis, the U.S. State Department will announce Saturday at noon the winners for Fiscal Year 2021 of the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which hands out 55,000 permanent resident cards, known as green cards, each year, despite President Donald Trump’s promise to end it.
The winners were drawn from random selection by computer from among qualified entries. The visas are available for immigrants with historically low rates of immigration to the U.S.
Participants in the DV-2021 lottery can go to the Entrant Status Check page on the internet to learn if their entry was selected, using the confirmation number issued to them when they completed their electronic entry last year.
The Entrant Status Check feature will be available on the State Department’s website until September 30, 2021, according to the official instructions for the 2021 Diversity Visa Program.
Read more: Fewer people will be eligible to apply for the Visa Lottery thanks to this new change
How to find out if you won the visa lottery
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
State Department officials stressed that the status check page is the only way the lottery winners are announced. No notification letters are being sent out.
What happens next for lottery winners
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, you must first be eligible to be admitted to the U.S. as an immigrant and thus not likely to become a public charge.
Read more: Here’s what it takes for an immigrant to get a green card — and not lose it
Simultaneously, you must electronically submit Form DS-260, Online Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application. Then, the consular officer will ask you eligibility questions during the interview, which includes criminal and security topics.
After the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) processes the Form DS-260, you and your relatives that will be allowed to migrate to the U.S. will receive instructions on how to scan and upload the required supporting documentation, including birth certificates, court and prison records, military records and police certificates.
Then you have to start to prepare for an interview in English.
The interview process
Once those documents are processed, the visa winners will receive emails from the KCC notifying them of an appointment for an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate they selected in the DS-260 Form.
“You should prepare for your interview thoroughly and carefully. Failure to be fully prepared for your interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate can result in delay or denial of your visa application,” the State Department warns on its page of instructions.
You must bring the following to the interview:
▪ Appointment letter
▪ Confirmation of the DS-260 page
▪ Medical exam results
▪ Originals of the supporting documentation
▪ Certified English translations of these documents
▪ Visa fee ($330)
Read more: Here’s what foreigners with tourist visas can and cannot do if they want to stay longer in the U.S.
Diversity visa winners legally residing in the U.S.
While most lottery winners live in a foreign country and immigrate through consular processing, some foreign nationals selected are already living in the United States under a non-immigrant legal status.
For them, 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 minority group is to file Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status and the supporting evidence.
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.
▪ Read more: The U.S. government is targeting hundreds of thousands who have overstayed their visas
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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