Winning the Diversity Visa Lottery 2024? Here's How to Get Your Green Card if You're Already in the United States
The results are in for the highly anticipated Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery, and if you were one of the lucky ones selected, it's time to take the next steps towards obtaining your green card. The DV Lottery, also known as the Green Card Lottery, offers individuals from countries with historically low immigration rates a chance at permanent residency in the United States. So, what should you do now that you've been selected?
Out of a staggering 11 million entries worldwide, approximately 55,000 applicants have been randomly chosen to proceed to the next stage of the process. Among the countries with the highest number of selected applicants are Nepal, Iran, Egypt, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine. This is an incredible opportunity for those selected to potentially become permanent residents of the US.
However, being selected is just the first milestone on your journey. It's crucial to understand that selection doesn't guarantee a Green Card. There are important steps you must take to be considered for a visa, and time is of the essence.
First and foremost, remember that entitlement to immigrant status in the DV category only lasts until the end of the fiscal year, which is September 30, 2024. Visa numbers may be exhausted before that date, so it's essential to ensure that the U.S. government agencies can process your case, including any applications for your spouse or children under 21, before the program's eligibility expires.
While most instructions for DV lottery winners emphasize obtaining an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy outside the United States, here's a little-known fact: if you're currently in the United States in valid status, there's a chance you can obtain your green card without leaving the country. This process, known as Adjustment of Status, involves filing an I-485 application with the USCIS. Filing Form I-485 promptly when the Visa Bulletin allows offers several advantages, including bypassing the need to submit documents to the National Visa Center, potentially leading to faster processing times.
Keep in mind a few key requirements:
- Availability of a visa: You can apply for adjustment of status only if a Diversity Visa is available to you. Your priority date, the date you were selected for the Diversity Visa lottery, must be current. Check the monthly Visa Bulletin on the Department of State website for priority date updates.
- Physical presence in the United States: You need to be physically present in the US when your Diversity Visa is granted to be eligible for adjustment of status.
- Timely filing: Your application for adjustment of status must be filed within the period your Diversity Visa is valid. Typically, Diversity Visas are valid for six months from the date of issuance.
- Maintaining status: It's crucial to have a clean immigration and criminal record, without any violations of status or unauthorized stays.
If there are any issues regarding the criteria above, it is highly advisable to speak to an experienced immigration attorney.
If you are among the fortunate individuals selected in this year's Diversity Visa Lottery, congratulations! However, there's still work to be done. Follow the instructions diligently, submit all required documentation promptly, and ensure a smooth process. If you have any questions or need guidance, don't hesitate to contact our office. Our immigration attorneys have extensive experience helping individuals through the Diversity Visa process, and we will provide the support you need to make your application a success.