About the Diversity Lottery: Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants” from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. For Fiscal Year 2020, 50,000 Diversity Visas (DVs) will be available. The Department of State determines selectees through a randomized computer drawing. The Department of State distributes diversity visas among six geographic regions, and no single country may receive more than 7 percent of the available DVs in any one year. For DV-2020, natives of certain countries are not eligible to apply, because more than 50,000 natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years.
President Trump’s Travel Ban on Immigrants: On Wednesday, April 22, President Trump signed a proclamation suspending entry into the United States of certain immigrants who present risk to the U.S. labor market during the economic recovery following the COVID-19 outbreak. The proclamation was effective at 11:59 p.m. EDT on Thursday, April 23. It was continued by President Trump on June 22, and will expire on December 31, 2020, unless continued. Applicants for immigrant visas covered by the proclamation, including Diversity Visa 2020 (DV-2020) applicants, who have not been issued an immigrant visa as of April 23 have been subject to the proclamation’s restrictions unless eligible for an exception.
The Issue: All DV-2020 entrants who were selected must be found eligible for, and obtain, their visa or adjust status by September 30, 2020. President Trump’s travel ban on immigrants has prevented the Department of State from processing diversity visas for eligible applicants, running the clock as the September 30 deadline swiftly approaches.
Relief for DV Lottery Winners: On September 4, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia acted to provide relief to DV lottery winners, ordering the State Department to immediately undertake good-faith efforts to expeditiously process and adjudicate, issue, or reissue visas for DV-2020 diversity visa applicants and their beneficiaries by the September 30, 2020 deadline. The Court also announced that it would revisit requests to extend the deadline. As a result, DV applicants can now request emergency visa appointments at their local consulates and can ask to be treated as “mission critical.”
If you are in need of an emergency appointment, WR Immigrant attorneys can assist with expediting the visa appointment process within the post’s appointment system or by contacting the consular section’s email. We can also assist with a request for “mission critical” treatment for the processing of your green card.