The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program: What You Need to Know

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ATLANTA, Georgia. In 2020, 50,000 visas were made available under the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. While President Trump has threatened to end the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, the U.S. Department of State Website notes that individuals who entered for 2019 visas, and were notified that they have been selected have until September 30, 2019 to complete their processing and enter the US. Those who entered the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program for 2020, can begin to check the status of their selection on May 7, 2019. 50,000 visas will be made available for 2020, but the deadline for applying for the lottery has already passed.

What is the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program and is it the right choice to help you get a green card? Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, immigrants from countries that have low rates of immigration to the U.S. were eligible to apply for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. If your number is selected in the lottery, you will still need to meet all qualifications under the program to receive a lottery. If you are selected, but don’t meet qualifications, your application can still be denied. The U.S. Department of State provides a list of which countries are eligible and which are not eligible. Diversity Immigrant Visa applicants must also have work experience and at least a high school education. It is important to check with your immigration attorney or look over the list of eligible countries when applying for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program.

There are, however, certain exceptions to this eligibility rule. If your spouse was born in an eligible country, you may still qualify for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program even if you were born in an ineligible country, and if your parents were born in an eligible country and were not residents of the ineligible country where you were born, you may still be eligible to apply for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. For example, if you were born in an ineligible country because your parents were studying there, working there temporarily, or were visitors, you might still be legally considered a resident of your parents’ home country. If this country qualifies, you may still be eligible to apply for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. Eligibility is based on your “chargeability” to a certain country. Sometimes where you were born is not necessarily the country U.S. immigration will consider you charged to. The government determines “high admission” countries based on whether there were over 50,000 immigrants from the country using family-based or employment-based visa programs.

If you have not applied to the program in the past, it isn’t clear whether the program will be continued for 2021. Media reports indicate that President Trump wants to stop the program and may succeed in 2021.

If you have not applied to the program, you may want to consider alternatives. If you have questions about whether you qualify for other visa options, reach out to Kuck Baxter Immigration, qualified immigration lawyers in Atlanta, Georgia. Our attorneys can help you understand whether you qualify or help you determine what your visa options are.

If you entered the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program last year and were not selected, you may be able to enter again this year. Kuck Baxter Immigration are immigration attorneys in Atlanta, Georgia who can take the time to review your situation and case and help you understand all your visa and green card options. Contact us today to learn more.


Kuck Baxter Immigration Partners, L.L.C.
365 Northridge Road
Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30350
325 N Milledge Avenue
Athens, GA 30606
(by appointment only)

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Charles Kuck

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