The U.S. diversity (DV) immigrant visa lottery for fiscal year 2015 opens on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 and will remain open for entries until November 2, 2013. This year, the U.S. government has 50,000 immigrant visas available through the DV lottery and subsequent DV visa application process.
As in previous years, the Department of State (DOS) will select about 100,000 entries as “winners” and then through a process of elimination, 50,000 DV immigrant visas will actually be issued. At least half of the “winners” will be eliminated either due to technical errors, the applicant’s failure to meet the minimum education or experience requirements, or because the application was not approved before the September 30th cut-off date.
Incorrectly Submitted Lottery Entries
The DV program has a deceptive appearance of simplicity, but has numerous pitfalls. These include rigid and technical qualification requirements, such as being born in (as opposed to being a citizen of) a country from among those listed as qualifying countries by the Department of State, as well as specific minimum educational (a G.E.D. is not accepted as the equivalent of a high-school degree) or work experience requirements. These rigid pitfalls end up disqualifying thousands of distraught lottery winners every year.
DV Visa Application Cut-off Date
The DV immigrant visa is a “Cinderella visa.” If not completed prior to midnight on September 30, the end of the government’s fiscal year, it disappears. This means once notified of selection, numerous qualification steps must be completed prior to September 30 of the relevant year. The 2015 DV lottery opens October 1, 2013, and those selected will have until September 30, 2015 to complete the entire process and receive the DV visa.
Presently entrants will have to check their lottery results online as no notifications of winning will be issued by the government. Starting on May 1, 2014, and continuing for the 16-month period through at least September 2015, DV lottery entrants will have to periodically check to see if DOS has updated their online lottery status. If so, the clock starts ticking for that lottery winner to prepare and submit their DV visa application right away. Historically (and again anecdotally), this has resulted in tens of thousands of DV lottery winners finding themselves unable to reach the finish line by the deadline. Every year the Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group receives calls from many of these devastated “winners” – brokenhearted Cinderellas whose coaches turned to pumpkins. While DV lottery entrants often do not need a lawyer to apply, many benefit from consulting with an immigration attorney experienced in evaluating DV lottery entrants’ qualifications, and most importantly, assisting DV lottery winners with their DV visa applications if selected. If you or someone you care about needs help navigating these clandestinely complex issues, please contact your Wolfsdorf immigration attorney today.
For more information on the 2015 DV Lottery which opens on October 1, 2013, please attend Bernard Wolfsdorf’s upcoming no-cost webinar or download Wolfsdorf’s DV Lottery packet today to get started!