The US Congress signed the Immigration Act in the year 1990, officially establishing the Diversity Visa program, aimed at making 55,000 immigrant visas available in the annual lottery. This not only aims at promoting diversification among the immigrants by choosing immigrants from countries with low immigration rates but also enables them to attain US Permanent Residency. Owing to the limited number of visas in this category, these visas are distributed among 6 geographical regions worldwide, and about 7% visas are received by each eligible country in a particular year.
In order to attain Diversity Visa (DV), applicants have to go through the following simple steps:
Entry / Registration
To get registered for Diversity Visa, one needs to refer to its Visa Instructions and check for the eligibility of his/her native country for that particular year. The registration is free of cost.
Submission of Entries
The applicants need to ensure that they adhere to the application duration and schedule mentioned in the instructions, as there is a limited time to get all the processes done in order to get registered. The applications are to be submitted electronically through the Electronic Diversity Visa (E-DV) website i.e. www.dvlottery.state.gov. Each applicant can submit only one application for him/herself. Late and/or multiple entries, or paper entries will render the applicant disqualified from the process.
After successful submission of the application, a unique confirmation number will be displayed on the screen, which is important for tracking one’s application status and will be used for further correspondence and visa processing.
Selection of Applicants
After making random selections, the chosen applications are given out as Entrant Status Check on E-Diversity Visa’s website. To check one’s status, the applicant needs to enter his confirmation number to view the result if he is selected or rejected. In either of the case, all the applicants will be notified of their application status via the website only.
In the case of selection, the successful applicants will be informed and guided by immigration fee criteria through a confirmation page with further instructions.
In case of selection
After the selection of an application, the applicant will need to complete the further steps as instructed on the website. These steps are mandatory, as their successful completion will enable the applicants for interview scheduling, which will determine their visa eligibility.
Confirm your Qualifications
In order to be eligible for Diversity Visa, the applicant must have at least High School education (Intermediate) / 12 years of education, and /or at least 2 years of practical work experience during the last 5 years. Without meeting either of these two compulsory requirements, applicants do not need to apply or continue the application process for the Diversity Visa.
The occupations in which one needs to have an experience of 2 years are listed on the Department of Labor’s website i.e. www.onetonline.org.
The applicants not meeting the above criteria will be disqualified from the visa process and will not be refunded with the application fee.
Submit Visa Application
The applicants will then need to fill the Form DS 260 (https://ceac.state.gov/IV/Login.aspx), by putting the case number in login. The applicants must ensure that the family information is completely and correctly updated. Incomplete or incorrect information will lead to disqualification. In case any applicant adds a family member (spouse or unmarried children under the age of 21), the applicant will also need to upload a document proving his relationship.
The applicants will re-enter their case numbers on the sign and submit the page without zeros in order to obtain the print out of the confirmation page, which is to be taken along in the interview.
Prepare Supporting Documents
It is mandatory for all the applicants to prepare and arrange the required documents for the interview. These include:
- Documents/Certificated proving minimum education (High School or Equivalent Diploma) and/or certificate of minimum 2 years’ work experience
- Birth Certificates of the applicant and all the family members
- Certified Court and Prison records for the applicants who were convicted of crime
- Deportation documents for those applicants who have been previously deported by US Government
- Original or attested copy of Marriage Certificate, in case the applicant is married
- Marriage Termination Documents (Original or attested copies), including divorce documents or death certificate
- Military Records (copy), in case the applicant has served in the armed forces
- Police Records, for applicants aged 16 years or older, get additional information from https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/fees/reciprocity-by-country.html
- Custody documents, for applicants who have adopted children
Please ensure to take the certified translation of those documents which are prepared in another language. Please note that any false or erroneous information presented in the either of the documents or submitting fake documents will lead to disqualification from visa process.
The applicants will be notified about their interview schedules via email. They will need to log in to the entrant status check on Diversity Visa website to obtain the information regarding their interview schedules.
Prepare for Interview
All the applicants should ensure they are well prepared for the interview. Please be sure to:
- Review the interview schedule
- Review the embassy/consulate instructions carefully
- Schedule a complete medical examination for self and each family member applying for visa
- Arrange all the required documents, passports, originals and certified copies and 2 photographs each of all the visa applicants
- Any additional information from embassy/consulate
Also, inquire about the latest fee criteria and pay the requisite fee per person in accordance with the embassy’s/consulate’s instructions.
Visa Application Interview
All the applicants should appear for their interviews, adhering to the interview schedules. If the family is traveling with the applicant himself, they will accompany the applicant to the interview. If they are to travel separately, they will be scheduled for an interview later. Be sure to carry the following documents to the interview:
If the applicants have any further queries regarding interview or want to request any change in their interview schedules, they must contact the embassy/consulate at earliest.
After the Interview
After the interview, the consular officer will inform the applicants if their applications have been approved or denied. In the case of approval, you will be informed about:
- Getting your passport and visa
- Sealed Immigration Packet containing the required documents to be presented to US Customs and Border Protection upon entering the US
- When you should travel (applicants shall travel well before their visa expiry)
- USCIS Immigration Fee (to be paid to US Citizenship and Immigration Services after receiving immigrant visa)
- Vaccination Records (ensure that children are vaccinated according to instructions and requirements)
- X-Rays (Carry all the required X-Rays in your hands)