Every year, on May 1, many foreigners check the Department of State’s website to see if their names, entered into an electronic lottery system on the Department of State’s website the year before, between October and November, have been selected for the Diversity Visa (“DV”) program. For more information on the U.S.’s Diversity Visa “lottery” program, see my page on this. Generally, the US sets aside 50,000 permanent residence visas (“green cards”) annually to go to those who apply for permanent residence based on being selected for the Diversity Visa program (as opposed to permanent residence through a family member or an employer). The foreigner applicant still has to go through a visa application process (or adjustment of status if he/she is in the U.S. and on a valid non-immigrant status), and must otherwise be admissible.
Since it is now June, DV participants have checked the Department of State website and many are excited to find that they have been selected. But not so fast, the process to become a permanent resident does not stop there; it has barely begun. The notice will show a number and the country (or region) to which that visa number will be checked against on the Visa Bulletin. Only when the entrant’s visa number for his/her country or region is current (when the current Visa Bulletin shows a higher number than the entrant’s visa number) would that entrant be eligible to apply. Since the DV program is for a particular year (the government’s fiscal year is October 1 to September 30), visa and adjustment of status applications may not be submitted at all until the beginning of the fiscal year (October 1) and the visa must be issued by the end of the fiscal year (September 30).
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again.”