On May 7th, applicants for the Diversity Visa Lottery will be selected in this year’s drawing to begin the immigration process. However, selection is only the first hurtle. There are still many steps you must take to complete the immigration process.
1. Go to the U.S. Department of State website
Go to the U.S. Department of State website (https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/) to check the status of your application and whether or not you were selected. The State Department does NOT send out emails confirming an applicant’s selection after the drawing, so you will need to check the status yourself. Remember, you will need the confirmation number you received when you submitted your application back in October 2018.
2. Check the ranking of your application
Check the ranking number of your selected application on the State Department website. Your ranking number determines when you are allowed to begin submitting the remaining forms to obtain your visa/green card.
3. File I-485 if you are currently in the U.S.
For those who are currently in the U.S., once you are able to submit paperwork based on your ranking number, you may file an I-485 to adjust your status. You can also file for your work authorization at the same time. You must make sure all paperwork is submitted and fees paid before you can be scheduled for an interview.
4. Contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate if you are outside the U.S.
For those who are currently outside the U.S., once you are able to submit paperwork based on your ranking number, you will need to contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country and follow the steps listed on their website. The U.S. Embassy or Consulate will then walk you through the remaining paperwork and fees.
5. Schedule and attend your interview
Once all the forms are submitted and fees paid, for those inside the U.S., you will be able to schedule your interview. For those outside the U.S., the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country will contact you to schedule your interview.
6. Receive your green card
If the interview goes well, you will be issued an immigrant visa or green card!
Other things to remember:
-There are only 55,000 visas available each year. If that number of visas is reached before you are called for an interview, you will not be issued an immigrant visa and need to apply again.
-If you are selected, start this process as soon as possible based on your ranking number as the full process will take about a year. Also, if you do not begin the process within a year of your ranking number being eligible, the U.S. government will assume you no longer want to immigrate and reject your application.
-If you have family (i.e. wife or children under 18) they must each file their own immigrant visa application.
-Make sure to consult with a tax adviser to understand the tax implications of this process. For more on this topic, please visit our blog post on the subject: http://elkhalillaw.com/welcome-us-now-meet-uncle-sam/.
-Do not quit your job, sell your business, or sell your house before you have the immigrant visa in hand.
-Remember that any kind of criminal record or violation of U.S. immigration laws may affect your application and cause you to be ineligible to receive a visa.
-Make sure to do your research and have a plan for transitioning if you are selected. Research can include various states you wish to live, school districts, jobs, housing, and living expenses.
Good luck to everyone in the upcoming drawing on May 7th!
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Disclaimer: Nothing in relation to the enclosed information should be construed and or considered as legal advice for any individual, entity, case, or situation. The following information is prepared for advertisement use only. The information is intended ONLY to be general and should not be relied upon for any specific situation. For legal advice on your specific situation, we encourage you to consult an attorney experienced in the area of Immigration Law.