Questions and Answers About the DV-99 Visa Lottery Program

Author: Irish Immigration Center

Question: I submitted an application for the Diversity Visa (DV-99) Lottery Program in October, 1997. How long more until applicants will be notified and, if selected, will I be able to do the interview in the US?
Answer: The notification process for the DV-99 has already begun. Notices are currently being issued to applicants in Africa. These will be followed by Asia and then Europe. As in previous years, the State Department will be notifying 100,000 applicants that they have been successful in the lottery. As a receipt of notification does not guarantee a DV-99 visa and since there are only 50,000 visas available, people are encouraged to respond in a timely fashion. Applicants will receive, with the notification of success, instructions on how to proceed with the DV application. Lottery applicants who have not received a notice of success by mid-June can assume they have not been successful in the DV-99 lottery. It is too soon to determine how many successful applicants will be notified from each individual eligible country.

Because of changes in immigration legislation in recent years, those who have remained undocumented in the United States for a period of 180 days or more will not be eligible for a visa. Section 245 I of a previous act, which allowed undocumented applicants to interview and receive their permanent resident card (green card) in the US, expired on January 14, 1998. Successful DV applicants who are not in lawful nonimmigrant status will now have to return to their home country to interview for the green card. If an applicant has been undocumented in the US for 180 days, he/she faces a 3 year bar from returning to the US. If an applicant has been undocumented in the US for one year or more, he/she faces a 10 year bar from re-entering the US. Since a successful DV applicant has to take up residency in the US upon receiving a green card, this means those who face a bar have little chance of legalizing their status.

At the interview in the US Consular office overseas, green card applicants are being asked to document where they are living since April 1, 1997. Document applicants are being asked to present/include, but not limited to, tax returns, wage stubs, employers statement, air line boarding passes (to prove they departed from the US within valid visa time frame), old passports, medical records, school diplomas or transcripts, government assistance receipts, and utility bills.

Question: Is applicant required to take up residence in the US after receiving the green card?
Answer: You are required to take up residence in the US within two months of your interview.

Question: Upon arrival in the US, what do I need to do?
Answer: You will take your passport and visa stamp to your local Social Security Office where you will be issued a social security number and card. You can begin working in the US. Your green card will be mailed to you after a number of months depending on the backlogs at Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

Frosina thanks the Irish Immigration Center for this information and
Shkelqim Beqari for providing the Albanian version (Frosina Advisory IM628A).

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