The DV visa lottery was created in the year 1990. It was created by the Immigration Act of 1990 which amended the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide for a new class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants” (DV immigrants). The first lottery was drawn in the U.S. fiscal year of 1995 and has since been drawn every year.
The idea behind the DV program is to allow immigrants from countries which have historically sent the lowest number of immigrants in the most recent 5-year period. You will be eligible to the DV lottery if you are a native of one of those countries and meet certain educational and other requirements.
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- DV Lottery Registration Form And Procedures
- Countries Qualified for DV Lottery
- DV Lottery Results Check
How many people are selected for the DV program?
The total number of DV winners selected annually is 55,000 though in reality only 50,000 places are up for grabs. The other 5000 places are reserved for applicants under a different program called NACARA. Using available statistics for total admissions for other immigrant categories over the most recent five-year period, the Secretary of Homeland Security identifies high admission foreign states.
A foreign state whose immigrant admissions total is greater than 50,000 is a high admission foreign state. You will be ineligible to enter the lottery if you are a native of a high admission foreign state unless you can claim under the rules of chargeability on the basis of your spouse or parent.
What is an eligible country?
An eligible country is a country determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security to be a low admission country for the purposes of the DV lottery. Using available statistics, the Secretary of Homeland Security is able to identify both high admission regions and high admission foreign states.
A high admissions region is a region whose admission total is greater than one-sixth of the worldwide total. A foreign state whose admissions total is greater than 50,000 is a high admission foreign state. No one country’s nationals may receive more than 7% of the available visas in any one year. This is the equivalent of 3500 visas.
Your country of eligibility will normally be the same as your country of birth or where you were born. Your country of eligibility is not related to where you live or any other nationality you may have acquired. For example, if you are a citizen of Nigeria by birth, you will be ineligible because Nigeria is an ineligible country unless you can qualify under the rules of chargeability. This will be the case even if you hold Netherlands citizenship (an eligible country) in addition to your Nigerian citizenship.
What are the rules of chargeability?
You will generally be ineligible to participate in the DV program unless you are a native of a qualifying country. There are three ways by which you may participate under what is known as the rules of chargeability:
- If you are a child born in a non-qualifying country in which neither parent was born nor resident at the time of your birth, you may be eligible to charge to either parent’s country of birth provided they are from an eligible country.
- If you are from an ineligible country but your spouse was born in an eligible country, you may participate by charging to your spouse’s country of birth. However, both you and your spouse will be considered as principal applicants. You must both meet the educational or work requirement to qualify. You must also apply for the visas and enter the U.S. simultaneously. On the other hand, if your spouse was selected, the normal rules will apply. It is only your spouse who will be required to prove educational eligibility. You will not be required to apply for visas and enter the U.S. simultaneously.
- You may also charge to your spouse’s country even if you are both from eligible countries. This happens when your spouse is from a region with a high chance of being selected. For example, if an entrant from Ghana may have a lower chance of being selected whiles an entrant from New Zealand may have a higher chance. If your spouse was from New Zealand, you could select “New Zealand” as your country of chargeability.However, both you and your spouse will be considered as principal applicants. You must both meet the educational or work requirement to qualify. You must also apply for the visas and enter the U.S. simultaneously.On the other hand, if your spouse was selected, the normal rules will apply. It is only your spouse who will be required to prove educational eligibility. You will also not be required to apply for visas and enter the U.S. simultaneously.
Will I be disqualified if I chose a wrong country of chargeability?
If you chose a wrong country of chargeability at the time of your entry, the error will generally be disqualifying. However, depending on the nature of your choice, your application may be processed.
If you chose a wrong country of chargeability that is within the same geographic region as your correct country of chargeability, the CO may continue processing the application with the correct country of chargeability. This is subject to the CO being satisfied that there are no fraud concerns and that you gained no benefit from your error.
For example, if you mistakenly charged Kenya as your spouse’s country of chargeability instead of Ghana, the CO may, subject to other considerations, continue with further processing by using Ghana as the correct country of chargeability. The reason is that Ghana and Kenya are within the geographic region of Africa.
On the other hand, if you chose Australia, instead of Ghana, that will disqualify your application because Australia is in the geographic region of Oceania whiles Ghana is in the geographic region of Africa.
What are the requirements for the DV Program?
To qualify for a DV visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must be a native of an eligible country or be chargeable to, a country eligible for that year’s DV program; and
- You must have at least a high school education or equivalent; or
- You must have, within five years of the date of application for a DV visa, at least two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience.
How can I enter the lottery?
You can file your entry at the DOS website at www.dvlottery.state.gov. You will not be charged any fee for your initial entry. The Department of State (DOS) normally designates a period of about 30 days in each fiscal year within which persons may file entries for consideration. The period usually commences in the first week of October and runs for a period of 30 days or thereabout. The rules for registering in the lottery drawing changes every year; you may therefore check the DOS website at travel.state.gov (click “Visas” then “Diversity Visa”) for latest updates. You can file the entry yourself or get someone to file it on your behalf.
Can someone make the entry for me?
It is advisable that you make the entry yourself. However you may allow someone to make the entry on your behalf if you cannot complete the registration according to instructions. There are reports of persons who claim that they can get special attention for your entry if you pay them to handle it. Others also claim that your chances of selection will be greater if your entry is filed on your behalf by someone resident in the US. All such claims are false.
If someone helps you, you must be present when your entry is prepared so that you can provide the correct answers to the questions and retain the confirmation number. It is extremely important that you retain your confirmation number. You must insist that the person helping you prints out the confirmation page and hand it over to you.
Under no circumstances must you allow another person to retain your confirmation number. Without confirmation number, you will not be able to check if you have been selected. If another person retains your confirmation, they will be able to check if you have been selected by logging in your details at the Entrant Status Check without your knowledge. If they find that you have been selected, they may require you to pay some exorbitant fee, or set conditions for you, including insisting that dependents be included in your application which may lead to the denial of your visa.
What details must I provide on the DV Entry Form?
You must complete all details on the form or your entry will be disqualified. You must state such details including your full name, date of birth, gender, city and country where you were born. You must also state your country of eligibility or chargeability for the DV program. Other details include your phone number and mailing address, email address, and country where you live today. Others include highest level of education, marital status, number and details of children under 21 years and spouse information.
You must provide true and accurate details on the entry form. If you submit untrue or inaccurate details, your entry may be disqualified or if not disqualified, your visa may be refused at the time of your interview. The Foreign Affairs Manual states that entries lacking all of the required information may be disqualified at any time prior to selection, after selection, or during the visa application process. Some important details on the entry form are:
- NAME: You must ensure that you enter the name in the order which they appear in your passport. If you have no passport at the time of entry, you may use the order in which they appear on your birth or baptismal certificate, educational certificate, identity card, etc.The entry form has the names in this order: “first name”, “middle name” and “last name”. Be sure about the order by which your name is arranged and enter them exactly in the order of the entry form. In Ghana and some other countries, names in the passport bear only “surname” and “given name”. There is no provision for “middle name”. You must bear this in mind when completing your entry.If there is a discrepancy in the order of your name as entered on the entry form and that in your passport or other document, your visa may be refused.
- CURRENT MARITAL STATUS: This is one of the most important details on the entry from. Failure to select the option that correctly applies to you may result in the denial of your visa. The options for current marital status are: (1) Unmarried, (2) married and my spouse is NOT a U.S. citizen or U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR), (3) married and my spouse IS a U.S. citizen or U.S. LPR, (4) divorced, (5) widowed, or (6) legally separated. You must select whichever is applicable.You must enter the name, date of birth, gender, city/town of birth, and country of birth of your spouse, and a photograph of your spouse meeting the same technical specifications as your photo.
- CHILDREN: You must list all unmarried children under 21 years at the time of your entry. This includes your natural children, your step-children (even if you are now divorced from that child’s parent), your spouse’s children, or children you have formally adopted in accordance with applicable laws.You must list the children even if they no longer reside with you or do not intend for them to immigrate with you. You are not required to list children who are already U.S. citizens or LPRs, though you will not be penalized if you did. You must not list your parents and siblings since they are ineligible to receive DV visas as dependents.If you fail to include an eligible dependent on your entry, your case will be disqualified at the time of your visa interview and no visas will be issued to you or any of your dependents. This however applies to family members you did not have at the time of your entry, and not those acquired at a later date.
- SPOUSES: If you are married, you must list your spouse regardless of whether he/she lives with you or intends to immigrate to the U.S. You must provide your spouse’s name, date of birth, and their country of birth. You must do so even if you are living apart or have not seen your spouse in ages. Once your marriage has not been formally or legally dissolved, the person still remains your spouse even if you both live separately.If you are divorced or your spouse is deceased, you do not have to list them. You do not need to list your spouse if he/she is already a U.S. citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident. If your spouse is eligible he/she may submit a separate entry even though he or she is listed on your entry. Failure to list your spouse may result in your disqualification or the refusal of your visa at the time of your interview.
- PHOTOGRAPHS: You will be required to upload a digital photograph taken within the last 6 months in accordance with specifications specified in the DV instructions. If you listed dependents in your entry, you must also submit photographs conforming to technical standards as yours. Failure to upload photos according to specifications will lead to the disqualification of your entry.Group photographs are not acceptable. You must submit a photograph for each individual named on your entry. Your entry may be disqualified or your visa application refused if the photographs have been manipulated in any way, or do not meet the specifications in the DV instructions. If you submit the same photograph that was submitted with a previous year’s entry, your entry will be disqualified.
- HIGHEST EDUCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONYou must select your highest level of education you have achieved at the time of your entry. There are 10 options ranging from “primary school only” to a “doctorate”. Remember that eligibility requirement for the DV program is a high school education or its equivalent. You do not need to prove that you meet the educational requirements at the time of your entry. You must however prove that you meet the requirement at the time of your interview. You are advised not file your entry if you do not possess the educational requirement since you will be disqualified at the time of your interview
Can I submit as many entries?
You can submit only one entry during each registration period. If you submit more than one entry your entry will be disqualified. You may be disqualified at any time if it is discovered that you submitted more than one entry. If you and your spouse are both qualified, you may each submit one entry. If either of you is selected, the other will be entitled to derivative status provided each entry contained the other as their dependent.
How will I know that I have been selected?
You must return to the address where you filed your entry at www.dvlottery.state.gov. You must click on “Entrant Status Check” using the unique confirmation number saved from your online entry registration to find out whether your entry has been selected.
You may return to “Entrant Status Check” in the first week in the month of May following the year your submitted. If your entry is selected, you will be directed to a confirmation page providing further instructions, including information about fees connected with immigration to the United States.
Entrant Status Check is the ONLY means by which the Department of State notifies selectees of their selection for DV Program. The Department of State will not mail notification letters or notify selectees by email. U.S. embassies and consulates will not provide a list of selectees.
Individuals who have not been selected also will ONLY be notified through Entrant Status Check. You are strongly encouraged to access Entrant Status Check yourself. Do not rely on someone else to check and inform you.
If I lose my confirmation number can I still check if I have been selected?
You must have your confirmation number to access Entrant Status Check. Your confirmation number is the primary means to check if you have been selected.
However, a tool is now available in Entrant Status Check (ESC) on the E-DV website that will allow you to retrieve your confirmation number via the email address with which you registered by entering certain personal information to confirm your identity. U.S. embassies and consulates and the KCC are unable to check your selection status for you or provide your confirmation number to you directly (other than through the Entrant Status Check retrieval tool).
Will I be issued a visa if I am selected?
Winning the lottery is just the first step in the process for a DV visa. It does not mean that you will be issued with a visa. To be eligible you must demonstrate to CO at the time of your interview that you meet the requirements for a DV visa.
Federal Regulations provide that though COs are authorized to grant to a beneficiary the status accorded in an approved petition, the approval of a petition does not relieve the person of the burden of establishing to the satisfaction of the CO that he or she is eligible in all respects to receive a visa.
This means that despite being selected for further processing, you still must satisfy the CO that you meet the requirements for the visa. If you fail to do so, your visa will be refused.
What should you do if you are selected?
If your case is selected for additional processing, you will be notified electronically via Entrant Status Check, and be instructed to complete Form DS-260, Online Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration.
You must follow the electronic instructions and electronically submit Form DS-260 to Kentucky Consular Center (KCC). You and all family members applying for a DV visa must complete Form DS-260. You will need to enter your DV case number into the online DS-260 form to access and update the information about yourself and your family that you included in your DV entry.
If your family circumstances have changed after you entered the lottery, for example, if you have married or have a child, you will need to add your new family members to your case. When you add a new family member to your case, you must upload a document to prove your relationship to them. This may be a certificate of marriage, birth certificate or such other document establishing the relationship.
After completing the DS-260, you must submit the form electronically to KCC. On the Sign and Submit page of the DS-260, you will need to re-enter your DV case number. If you enter the case number but it generates a validation error, you must enter the case number without the zeros. (e.g. if the case number is 2018AF0000012345, enter ‘2018AF12345’). After submitting the Form DS-260 online, print the confirmation page. You must bring the confirmation page to your visa interview.
As soon as KCC has reviewed the Form DS-260 and made any required updates to the electronic record, you will be considered documentarily qualified. You are considered documentarily qualified when KCC confirms that you have properly completed and submitted the Form DS-260. KCC may ask you to update Form DS-260 if information is missing but will not delay scheduling if waiting for a response.
KCC will schedule an appointment for you when your regional lottery rank number is about to become current. KCC will notify you by e-mail that you should log into the Entrant Status Check website to obtain your appointment letters and further instructions. This appointment letter is commonly called the 2nd Notification Letter or 2NL.
When you log into the ESC, you will be referred to the pre-interview instructions on the Diversity Visa Process website. On that website, you will be able to review post-specific instructions, and any additional required forms.
How can I contact KCC?
You may contact KCC to unlock your case via email. If you need to contact the KCC, always include your name, birthdate and case number exactly as they appear in the Entrant Status Check (ESC). Your case number should be clearly written in the upper right hand corner of your e-mail or in the subject line. KCC only receives inquiries by phone or email.
Do not mail paper documents or correspondence to the Kentucky Consular Center. All paper documents or correspondence received will be destroyed. The KCC telephone number is 606-526-7500 (7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. EST). You must include the U.S. country code (001) when calling from outside of the U.S. The e-mail address is [email protected].
What documents do I need to prepare before my interview?
You will need to prepare a number of documents prior to your interview. You will need to review the interview instructions at your local consulate to know the specific documents you will need to submit. It is important that you work on time to prepare your documents.
If you fail to submit a required document at the interview, your visa may be refused or your case may be put on Administrative Processing (AP) pending the submission of the said document. This may further delay your case and may prevent you from being issued with a visa before the end of the fiscal year.
Some of the documents you will need to prepare are:
- Educational requirement documents: You must submit documents showing that you qualify under the education or work experience requirement. For the education requirement, documents you may submit includes a certificate of completion equivalent to a U.S. diploma, school transcripts, or other evidence issued by the person or organization responsible for maintaining records, which specifies the completed course of study.
- Work experience documents: For the work experience requirement, you will need to show that you have the requisite experience in a qualifying occupation. Documents you may submit to prove this requirement includes a print out from of the job to which you are aligning your experience, employment letters such as job offers, promotion letters, and educational certificates that can prove that you have acquired the needed training. You could also include reference letters from current and former managers, co-workers or other third parties who can attest to your work history. You could also include a CV setting out your work history with details about your work duties or responsibilities.
- Birth Certificate: You and all eligible dependents will need to obtain an original birth certificate issued by the official custodian of birth records in the country of birth, showing the date and place of birth and the parentage of the applicant, based upon the original registration of birth. The certificate must contain the:
Person’s date of birth;
• Person’s place of birth;
• Names of both parents; and,
• Annotation by the appropriate authority indicating that it is an extract from the official records.
What if I cannot obtain my birth certificate?
It is possible that in certain situations, you may be unable to obtain a birth certificate because your birth was never officially recorded or your birth records have been destroyed or the appropriate government authority will not issue one.
In these cases, you may submit secondary evidence of the birth including a certified statement from the appropriate government authority stating the reason why your record is not available or why they are unable to issue with one. Examples of secondary evidence may include:
- A baptismal certificate that contains the date and place of birth, as well as both parents’ names (providing the baptism took place shortly after birth).
- An adoption decree for an adopted child.
- An affidavit from a close relative, preferably the applicant’s mother, stating the date and place of birth, both parents names, and the mother’s maiden name.
It must be noted that such affidavit may be more likely to be accepted as reliable evidence if it details pertinent facts and events contemporaneous with the date of the claimed birth. In short, it must show more substance over form. The affidavit must be executed before an official authorized to take oaths or affirmations.
Court and Prison records: If you have been convicted of a crime, you must obtain a certified copy of each court record and any prison record, regardless of the fact that you may have subsequently benefited from an amnesty, pardon or other act of clemency. Court records should include complete information regarding the circumstance surrounding the crime of which you were convicted and the disposition of the case, including sentence or other penalty or fine imposed.
Marriage Certificate: If you are married you must obtain an original marriage certificate, or a certified copy, bearing the appropriate seal or stamp of the issuing authority. You may review the Reciprocity by Country webpage to know if the marriage certificate is deemed available in your country, and if so, the nature of the document you will need to present. For example the reciprocity page for Ghana states with respect to marriage certificate as follows:
“Most marriages are performed under customary law, and written records are kept only if couple chooses to register the marriage with the local council. Persons married under customary law who subsequently wish to marry under civil law must obtain a civil marriage certificate which reflects the words “married under native customary law” in the space provided for “condition.” Polygamous marriage is permissible under the customary law of some groups, but not under civil law.”
Marriage Termination Documentation: If you have been previously married, you must obtain evidence of the termination of each prior marriage. The evidence must be in the form of original documents issued by a competent authority, or certified copies bearing the appropriate seal or stamp of the issuing authority, such as final divorce decree, death certificate or annulment papers. You may review the Reciprocity by Country webpage to know if the divorce certificate is available in your country, and if so, the nature of the document you will need to present. For example the reciprocity page for Ghana states with respect to divorce certificate as follows:
“Certificates for the dissolution of a civil marriage may be obtained from the court that granted the divorce. Proper documentation of the dissolution of a customary marriage is a decree, issued by a high court, circuit court or district court under the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1971 (Act 367), Section 41(2), stating that the marriage in question was dissolved in accordance with customary law. Affidavits or “statutory declarations” attesting to a divorce under customary law, even when duly sworn, do not constitute proper documentation of the dissolution of a Ghanaian customary marriage.”
Military Records: If you have served in the military forces of any country you must obtain a copy of their military record. You may review the Reciprocity by Country webpage to know if military records are deemed available in your country, and if so, the nature of the document you will need to present. For example the reciprocity page for Ghana states that military records are available and further provides details as follows:
“In the case of a person who has served in the Gold Coast or Ghana Armed Forces, a military record may be obtained from the Director of Personnel Administration, Ministry of Defense, Burma Camp, Accra, Ghana.”
Police Certificate: If you are aged 16 years or older, you must submit all required police certificates at your interview. You must submit police certificates that cover the entire period of your residence in that area issued by the appropriate police authority. The certificate must include all arrests, the reason for the arrest(s), and the disposition of each case of which there is a record.
If you have lived in your country of nationality (or have lived in another country different from the country of nationality) for more than 6 months, you must submit a police certificate of from the police authorities in the applicable country.
If you have lived in any previous country or country of residence for more than 12 months when you were aged 16 years or older, you must submit a police certificate from the police authorities in the area.
If you have been arrested for whatever reason in any country and was at any age at the time of the arrest, you must provide a police certificate from the police authorities in the place of arrest showing details of the arrest.
Custody Documentation: If you have an adopted child, you must provide the following:
- A certified copy of the adoption decree;
- The legal custody decree, if custody occurred before the adoption;
- A statement showing dates and places where child resided with the parents; and
- If the child was adopted while aged 16 or 17 years, evidence that the child was adopted together with, or subsequent to the adoption of, a natural sibling under age 16 by the same adoptive parent(s).
What documents must I bring to my interview?
Prior to your interview, you must obtain all required documents. It is strongly recommended that you begin this process early. You and each family member who will accompany you to the U.S. will need to submit original documents or certified copies of the documents listed in the Prepare Your Supporting Documents here. You will also need to bring a photocopy of each document. You will be required to bring these documents to your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, along with any translations required.
What should I expect at my interview?
On the date of your appointment for the interview, you and all dependents travelling with you must appear before the CO for an interview. You must bring along all required documentation provided in the DV instructions. You must review all the pre-interview information contained in the pre-interview instructions on the Department of State website before your interview to ensure that you have all information and documentation on hand.
When you appear at the consulate, you will be required to pay your visa fee before being interviewed. The current fee for DV visa is $330. This must be paid in cash in local currency. Before meeting with the CO for your interview, an official, called the document checker will check your documents for completeness and legibility. The document checker will ensure each question on Form DS-260, has been answered before you will be called for your interview.
At the interview, the CO will review your documents and ask you questions. The CO will ask you questions about your educational qualification or work experience. This may include questions about where you studied, when you completed your studies, the school you attended, the course you studied, etc.
The CO may also ask you questions about your dependents, their relationship to you, etc. If you have a prior ineligibility, you must expect to answer questions on that. If you acquired a spouse after you were selected, you must expect to meet some hardline questioning intended to assess the genuineness of the claimed relationship.
What will happen if my visa is approved?
After the interview, the CO will inform you whether your visa has been approved or denied. If your visa is approved, the CO will inform you about how and when your passport and visa will be returned to you. A DV visa is normally valid for a maximum of 6 months. It is likely that your visa will be granted for a maximum period of 6 months unless your medical examination report expires sooner, which may make your visa valid for less than 6 months.
Your DV visa will be placed on a page in your passport. You must review the printed information right away to make sure there are no errors. If there are any spelling errors, you must contact the embassy or consulate promptly.
You will also receive a sealed packet containing documents that you must present to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) upon your arrival in the U.S. You must not open the sealed packet. You must not pack the sealed envelope in your luggage. It must be hand-carried. This notice will usually be embossed on the frontage of the envelope.
You must enter the U.S. within the validity of your visa. You must arrive and apply for admission in the U.S. no later than the visa expiration date printed on your visa.
What will happen if my visa is refused?
If your visa is refused, the CO will inform you. The CO will verbally inform you about your refusal and also issue with a refusal letter. The refusal letter will specify the provision of law under which you were refused.
In certain cases, your case could be placed under Administrative Processing (AP) pending the submission of a required document by you. Your case could also be placed under AP if the consulate needs to conduct further inquiries about your application. If this happens your visa will be refused you under INA 221(g). If you submit the required document or the consulate completes its inquiry, your refusal will be overcome and the CO will continue with the processing of your case until a final decision is reached.
If either of these applies, your visa will be refused under INA 221(g). If you submit the required document or the consulate completes its inquiry, your refusal will be overcome and the CO will continue with the processing of your case until a final decision is reached. If you were refused under INA 221(g) and were required to submit a document, bear in mind that the submission of the document does not mean that a visa will be issued.
Federal Regulations state that if the applicant presents a document, the CO must overcome the refusal under INA 221(g) and adjudicate the case to its conclusion. You may or may not be issued a visa if the initial refusal under INA 221(g) is overcome.
Can I appeal my DV refusal?
No. You cannot appeal the decision of the CO to refuse you a DV visa. The consular non-reviewability doctrine prevents U.S. courts from making a determination as to whether or not the decision by a CO to refuse you a visa was in accordance with law. This doctrine applies to DV visas as well.
However, there are other ways by which you can contest your DV visa refusal. You may apply for a reconsideration of your decision. You may also seek an advisory opinion from the Visa Office in Washington. In certain cases, you may use a combination of both avenues to contest your refusal.
Can I challenge my DV visa refusal through a Request for Reconsideration?
Federal Regulations state that if a visa is refused, and the applicant within one year from the date of refusal adduces further evidence tending to overcome the ground of ineligibility on which the refusal was based, the case shall be reconsidered.
The Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) also states that if the applicant presents evidence of completion of high school before the end of the fiscal year, and visas are still available for the region the CO may overcome the refusal and issue the visa.
Another provision in the FAM also states that as long as the applicant is still entitled to visa status, reconsideration may be given to the case at any time.
All these provisions provide you with the right to file a Request for Reconsideration. However, there are certain factors you must consider when deciding to make a Request for Reconsideration.
- You must make a Request for Reconsideration only when you have further evidence to overcome your refusal. This further evidence must be new and should not have been a part of your original visa application. The Request must be professionally presented. It must include all relevant legal arguments and documentary evidence pointing out legal or factual mistakes made by the CO.
- You must state new facts and support them by affidavits or other documentary evidence. If you resubmit previously provided evidence or assert a fact without providing supporting documentary evidence, your request will not succeed. For example, if the CO decided that you did not qualify educationally, you must submit new evidence to prove that you possess the requisite educational qualifications.
- Another important condition is that a visa will be issued subject to the availability of visa numbers for your region. Therefore, even if your Request is successful, the CO cannot issue a visa if there are no available visa numbers. This means that your chances of being issued a visa may be relatively lower if you are from a region with a high number of selectees. In high admission regions, visas for certain countries may be used up even before the end of the fiscal year.
- The period or the month in which you were refused could also impact on the chances of your reconsideration request. If your visa was refused in a month close to the end of the fiscal year in September, chances are that your Request may not see the light of day.
- Another factor is the workload of the consulate. Busy posts attend to a high number of DV applicants in a day. In such a case, the already burdened consular staff may consider your Request as an additional workload. They might therefore not give it the needed attention and consideration even though they are required by law to consider your Request and issue you with a response.
- Another factor is the period within which you must file the Request. Federal Regulations state that you may bring the request within one year from the date of the refusal. This rule may always not apply in DV cases. Since DV visas are only valid up to the end of the fiscal year, you may not be able to file your Request even though it may have be less than one year from the date you were refused.For example, if you were refused a visa in June, 2017 you would have just about 3 months to file your reconsideration request before the fiscal year ends on September 30, 2017. You will not have one (1) year to do so as stated under Federal Regulations.
- Again, reconsideration request can only be filed at the U.S. consulate that refused your visa. KCC has no adjudicatory role in visa matters and has no jurisdiction to receive and determine matters relating to visas. This includes reconsideration request. Do not send any Request to the KCC. If you do, your documents will be destroyed and you will have wasted precious time waiting for a response which will never come.
- Finally, the making of a reconsideration request is free. You do not have to pay any additional fee for making a Request. You must submit your written arguments with all necessary evidence to the consulate at NO COST. However, you must be prepared to pay legal fees if you use the services of a lawyer.
You must thoughtfully consider all these factors before making a decision to file a Request for Reconsideration. You may consult with an experienced lawyer to assess the relative merits of your case before taking any such step.
Given the slow-paced nature of reconsideration requests, the cost of legal fees if using a lawyer, and the fact that a visa may be issued subject to the availability of visa numbers, it is advisable that you submit all necessary documents at the time of your interview.
The reason is that even if you have new evidence which has the potential to overcome your refusal, you may not receive a decision on your reconsideration before the end of the fiscal year.
How can I challenge my DV Visa refusal through an Advisory Opinion to the Visa Office?
If your DV visa is refused, you may consider submitting an advisory opinion to the Visa Office for a legal determination of your case. You or your authorised representative may pose a legal question for determination on your refusal via email to [email protected].
The Visa Office at the Department of State has a dedicated email channel, [email protected], available only for case-specific questions on the interpretation or application of immigration law. The LegalNet staff works with posts and other divisions in the Visa Office to prepare responses to appropriate inquiries that involve legal issues. To consider this option for your DV visa refusal, you must consider these important points:
- Advisory opinion can generally be pursued only on matters of law. It cannot be an avenue for challenging factual determinations made by the CO. To be able to succeed you must show that you have received a final decision from the consulate which you believe to be wrong as a matter of LAW. For example, if your visa was refused on the basis that you did not meet the educational requirement, you may submit arguments with relevant legal authorities pointing out why the CO made a mistake in law by saying that you did not qualify educationally.
- Advisory Opinion is not an avenue to submit further evidence to overcome your refusal. If your basis for disputing the decision is primarily on new evidence which was not submitted as a part of your original visa application, you may consider making a Request for Reconsideration already discussed here.
- It is strongly advised that you consult with a lawyer if you wish to seek an Advisory Opinion. The team at the Visa Office who makes legal determinations on visa cases includes lawyers versed in U.S. immigration laws and regulations.The procedure for filing the Opinion must conform to detailed and specific guidelines. Moreover, you must cite all legal authorities you wish to rely on in your inquiry. You may therefore wish to speak to a lawyer conversant with this procedure to advice you on whether or not it is advisable to pursue this option.
- You may also pose a legal question about a specific case when you or representative have attempted to contact the consulate at least twice without receiving a final response, and where 30 days have passed since the second inquiry.For example, you may contemplate sending a legal inquiry for an Advisory Opinion if you have attempted to contact the consulate at least twice with your reconsideration request and the consulate has refused or failed to respond to your request.
- Like reconsideration request, a visa can only be issued subject to the availability of visa numbers for your region. Therefore, even if the Visa Office makes a positive determination on your case, they cannot compel the Consulate to issue you a visa. They can only make a recommendation. In most instances, they will direct the consulate to review your case and contact you.However, they cannot insist that the Consulate issues you with a visa. The Consulate will only issue you a visa if there are visa numbers available. If there are no visa numbers available, you cannot be issued a visa despite a favourable determination of your case.This means that your chances of being issued a visa may be relatively lower if you are from a region with a high number of selectees. In high admission regions, visas for certain countries may be used up even before the end of the fiscal year.
- Finally, request for Advisory Opinion is free. You do not have to pay any fee for seeking an opinion. However, you must be prepared to pay legal fees if you use the services of a lawyer.
If you send a request for Advisory Opinion to the Visa Office, you will typically receive a notice that the inquiry has been received and is being processed. The time frame for substantive responses depends on the complexity of the matter and availability of essential information.
You will usually receive a substantive response within thirty (30) days of the initial notice that the inquiry is being processed. If you do not receive a substantive response within thirty (30) days of the initial notice that the inquiry is being processed, you or your designated representative may submit a follow-up email along with copies of any earlier correspondence.
What is a refusal under INA 212(a)(5)(A)?
This provision of law is known as the labor certification requirement. Generally, a person who seeks a visa on the basis of performing certain skilled or unskilled employment in the U.S. will be inadmissible unless they have received the appropriate certification from the Department of Labor.
This certification requirement does not apply to DV applicants. The DV applicant must however show that they meet the education requirement or the work experience requirement of two years of experience in an occupation which requires at least two years training or experience within the five-year period immediately prior to application. If you fail to meet either of these requirement your visa will be refused under INA 212(a)(5)(A).
You can also be refused under INA 212(a)(5)(A) if you failed to comply with the DV requirements. These include making a wrong initial entry, errors in your application, wrong photographs, etc. Unfortunately, a lot of people assume that if you are refused under INA 212(a)(5)(A) then the CO determined that you did not meet the requirements.
In many cases, this may not be the case. The FAM states that any applicant for a DV visa who fails to establish that they possess the requisite qualifications, including a valid entry for participation in the DV program, is ineligible under INA 212(a)(5)(A)(i). So clearly, you could be refused under INA 212(a)(5)(A) for reasons other than the educational or work requirement.
Can I appeal my refusal under INA 212(a)(5)(A)?
No. You cannot appeal your refusal under INA 212(a)(5)(A). However, you may have the opportunity to present further evidence to overcome your refusal before the end of the fiscal year. You can do this by means of a Request for Reconsideration already discussed here.
On the other hand, if you believe for example, that the CO erroneously found that you did not meet the requirements, you may consider submitting an Advisory Opinion to the Visa Office at the Department of State for a determination of your legal question.
What is a Refusal under INA 212(a)(6)(C)?
INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i) provides that an alien who seeks to procure, or has sought to procure, or has procured a visa, other documentation, or entry into the United States or other benefit provided under the INA by fraud or willfully misrepresenting a material fact at any time shall be ineligible for a visa.
You would be refused under this ground if you deliberately lied in your application or submitted fake documentation, including documents purporting to show that you meet either the education or work requirement. You may also be refused if the CO found that the dependents (spouse or children) included in your DV application are not your true dependents and that the relationship may have been developed solely for the purpose of receiving the visa.
If you are refused under INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i), you will PERMANENTLY be ineligible to receive a visa. This means you will NEVER be allowed to enter the U.S. unless you are granted a waiver. You must therefore think twice about lying in your application or submitting forged documentation or contracting a fake marriage to receive a visa.
Can I contest my refusal under INA 212 (a)(6)(C)(i)?
If you believe the CO wrongly refused you a visa under INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i), you may present further evidence to overcome the refusal by means of a Request for Reconsideration. However, the most effective avenue to contest this finding is to submit an Advisory Opinion to the Visa Office. You must argue why you believe the CO made an error with supporting evidence or documentation. You can read more about Advisory Opinion here.
What is a Refusal under INA 221(g):
This is one of the commonest grounds for DV visa refusals. This ground is commonly called Administrative Processing (AP). Refusals under 221(g) are commonly applied in two instances:
- If you failed to provide sufficient information or documentation as required by law. For example, if you failed to submit a medical examination report, the CO may refuse your visa under INA 221(g) and request you to provide the document within a specified period (usually within one month).If you submit the document within the period specified, the CO may overcome the refusal and continue processing the visa. You must note that the mere submission of the document does not mean that the CO will issue you a visa. It only allows the CO to adjudicate the case to its final conclusion.
- If the CO needs to conduct further inquiry or investigation about your case before they can make a final decision, the CO will refuse your visa under INA 221(g). Examples include investigating the authenticity of a document you, or an advisory opinion from a relevant U.S. authority, security checks, etc. Once the required information is received the CO will overcome the refusal and continue with the processing of the case.
The CO refused my visa under INA 221(g) because he could not identify my identity.
Administrative Processing is not the only reason why you may be refused under INA 221(g). Though they are the common reasons for INA 221(g) refusals, your DV visa could also be refused because the CO determined that you failed to comply with the requirements of the DV program. Some of the factors that could lead to a refusal under 221(g) are:
- failing to furnish information as required by law or regulations;
- making a false or incorrect statement in your application other than one which would constitute a ground of ineligibility under INA 212(a)(6)(C);
- failing to support your application by the documents required by law or regulations;
- refusing to be fingerprinted as required by regulations;
- failing to swear to, or affirm, the application before the CO; or
- if your application otherwise fails to meet specific requirements of law or regulations for reasons for which you are responsible.
Any of these reasons could trigger a refusal under INA 221(g). Some CO’s may choose to refuse you under INA 221(g) or INA 212(a)(5)(A) for these reasons.
What should I do if my visa is refused under INA 221(g)?
What you may do would usually depend on the basis upon which the 221(g) was applied. Let us consider these three (3) scenarios and how it may apply to you.
- Incomplete Documentation
If your visa was refused on the basis of an incomplete or missing documentation, you must act promptly to present the document within the time specified by the CO.
- Administrative Processing
If 221(g) was applied because of further information required by the CO either by investigating the authenticity of a document or requesting some information or security checks you may have no option but to wait until the consulate contacts you. You may however contact the consulate through the appropriate channel if it has taken an unreasonably long time and the consulate has still not made contact.
- Failure to comply with the provisions of the DV program:
INA 221(g) may be applied on the basis of an error in your application. Unfortunately, you may have no remedy with this type of refusal. It may be difficult to contest such a decision either by Request for Reconsideration or Advisory Opinion.
Such a refusal will be considered as a factual determination made by the CO. It will therefore not be subject to review. The decision as to whether or not an applicant failed to meet the requirements of the DV rules is a basis of fact. Such matters are usually left to the discretion of the CO. If the CO makes that determination, it is presumed that the CO had the factual basis to reach such conclusion.