New York City Diversity Visa Lottery Attorney
Green Card Lottery Guidance in Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties
The Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Program gives many immigrants who would not otherwise qualify for a green card a chance to obtain this crucial visa. Each year, the lottery randomly chooses 50,000 immigrants. “Winning” the lottery means you – and your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 – have the opportunity to become lawful permanent residents.
Being selected for a diversity visa does not mean you will automatically receive a green card. You must promptly complete several complex procedural steps, including submitting all required paperwork and participating in an interview, before you can get your visa.
At The Law Office of Jason A. Dennis, we help diversity visa winners who are already in the United States navigate the process of adjusting their status. Our New York City diversity visa lottery lawyer will work closely with you and your family every step of the way. We will prepare you for all possible scenarios and do everything we can to facilitate a successful result. Your future in the U.S. is important to us, and we will leverage our skills and resources to deliver the high-quality legal support you deserve.
Who Can Enter the Diversity Visa Lottery?
Not all prospective immigrants can enter the diversity visa lottery. As the primary entrant, you must have at least a high school degree or at least two years of work experience in a field that requires at least two years of training.
In most cases, you must also have been born in an eligible country. The program is meant to support countries that do not historically send many immigrants to the United States (hence the “diversity visa” name). The list of eligible countries can change as immigration patterns evolve, but immigrants from certain countries, like India, the United Kingdom, and China, never qualify.
As of 2023, immigrants from the following countries cannot enter the diversity visa lottery:
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland)
There are two potential workarounds if you are a national of an ineligible country. If your spouse was born in an eligible country, you can apply through them and use their country of birth. Alternatively, if neither of your parents was ever considered legal residents of your country of birth, you can use their country of birth.
It is not always easy to determine whether you qualify to enter the diversity visa lottery, so if you are confused, you are not alone. Our New York City diversity visa lottery attorney will review your situation and advise whether you can (and should) enter. The Law Office of Jason A. Dennis can also review alternative options that are consistent with your immigration goals.
You can only enter the diversity visa lottery from early October through early November. If you miss the availability window, you will have to wait until the next year. It is extremely important that you fill out your submission form correctly, so it may be in your best interest to consult a legal professional before sending in your application.
Note that if you and your spouse both qualify, each of you can separately enter the lottery, effectively doubling your chances. If either of you wins, the other will be listed as a dependent and will also be able to get a green card.
After entering, you will receive a unique confirmation number. Do not lose this confirmation number, as it is the only way to determine if you won or not.
Winners will not be selected until early May of the year following the year you entered. For example, if you entered in October of 2023, you will not learn the result until May of 2024.
If you are selected as a winner, you – and your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 – can submit adjustment of status petitions if you are already inside the United States. You cannot begin this process until the country starts its next fiscal year, which begins in October, and there must also be a visa available. You must submit your petition before the fiscal year ends.
Once your adjustment of status paperwork has been submitted, you can generally remain in the U.S. while it is processed. After receiving your green card, you will be able to live anywhere in the country and work most types of jobs.
If you do not win the lottery, you can try again an unlimited number of times so long as you continue to qualify. Depending on your changing circumstances, other immigration solutions may also become available.
Why You Need to Act Fast When You Win the Diversity Visa Lottery
Do not wait to prepare your adjustment of status petition when you learn you have won the diversity visa lottery. There are more winners than visas available, and you want to ensure you receive your green card as quickly as possible. Getting a green card that you are eligible for is not instantaneous, and you should still expect multiple months of waiting in even the best scenario.
You can submit your application up to 90 days before the date you are permitted to start the adjustment of status process. So, though United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will only start processing the first round of lottery winners in October (the start of the fiscal year), applicants with visas available can submit their paperwork in August. We will help you understand the timeline and when you can send your application materials.
The diversity visa lottery is an invaluable program that helps tens of thousands of immigrants build permanent lives in the United States. However, it is not necessarily the right option for everyone, especially when more efficient (and reliable) solutions are available.
For example, if you are married to a U.S. citizen or someone who already has a green card, you may still be eligible to enter the Diversity Visa lottery. However, applying for a green card through family immigration will likely be much faster.
Our New York City diversity visa lottery lawyer can help you understand all of your options. If we determine the lottery program is the best path forward, we will help you enter, monitor results, and, if you win, ensure your adjustment of status paperwork is submitted as quickly as possible.