With the end of fiscal year being September 31, 2021 in sight there is still no relief to hundreds of thousands of applicants who have won the Diversity Visa Lottery (DV-2021). The pandemic brought the travel restrictions which has stopped many from getting a Diversity Visa.
Each year 55,000 visas are available to the lottery winners. Some winners are already inside the U.S. legally and in most cases they are able to adjust their immigration status to get a Green Card. However, most of the lottery winners are from outside the U.S. and as a result the process involved in getting the Green Card is not as straightforward as adjusting their status.
The winners should submit a DS-260 online application and once the KCC (Kentucky Consular Center) processes the application instructions to submit supporting documents are sent. Once documents are checked and processed KCC will schedule an interview when a visa is available for the applicant.
The interview by the consular officer will determine if their visa application is approved or denied. If approved they can travel to the United States and at the port of entry if admitted they become permanent residents.
In some cases the process might change. But the travel part is required to get admitted into the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident. If the visas expire before they travel then they risk losing their chance of becoming a permanent resident.
For DV-2021 winners the cut-off date before they either adjust their status or get the Diversity Visa is September 30, 2021. The Diversity Visa in most cases is valid for about 6 months. So if applicants are issued visas just right before the cut-off date then they may be able to come to the U.S. within 6 months only if the travel restrictions brought forth by the pandemic ends.
The Biden administration hasn’t announced any measures to improve the situation. Travel restrictions are still in place and in some cases winners are unable to schedule even interviews due to closing of embassies and consulates due to local pandemic induced restrictions. As of June 2021 only a meager 3% of a total of 55,000 visas have been issued.
Several lawsuits have been filed which have basically asked the State Department to process the reserved Diversity Visas even after the coming deadline. If the Diversity Visas are not processed after the coming deadline then many lose the chance of becoming a permanent resident.
Becoming a green card lottery winner was a huge hurdle already as the winning percentage is less than 5%. Now being lucky enough to win the lottery but unable to become a permanent resident by no means of their actions is heartbreaking. Hopefully the Biden administration will provide some relief to the lottery winners soon.
Meanwhile, the DV-2023 registration period is fast approaching. Final official dates are not yet announced but it typically should open in October. You can keep yourself updated by visiting the official site or by signing up at usagreencardlottery.org (Diversity Lottery service provider) and get notified about updates on Green Card Lottery.