State Department Selects FY 2021 Diversity Visa Lottery Winners
The U.S. State Department has chosen the winners of the Fiscal Year 2021 Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery. Foreign nationals who entered the lottery can visit the official Entrant Status Check website to learn whether they were selected to submit an application for permanent residence.
Though the State Department had postponed the status check date to June 6 from the original date of May 5, attributing the delay to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency also stated that the delayed opening would not have a negative impact on its ability to pre-process and schedule DV interviews, which are set to begin on October 1, 2020.
If you entered the FY 2021 lottery, the only reliable way to learn whether you have been selected is to visit the official website and enter the confirmation number of your entry, along with your last name or date of birth and a randomly generated authentication code. The State Department does not send direct notifications to lottery winners, so beware of emails, letters or other communications that claim you have won the lottery; they are likely to be fraudulent.
If your lottery entry was selected, the Entrant Status Check website will provide information on how to proceed with an application for permanent residence. Individuals selected in the lottery are eligible to submit an application for adjustment of status or an immigrant visa application during FY 2021, which begins on October 1, 2020 and ends on September 30, 2021. If your entry was not chosen, the status check website will state that fact.
For FY 2021, the State Department will make 55,000 immigrant visas available through the DV lottery (in recent years, the number has been 50,000). Foreign nationals submit their lottery entries online during a designated time period. The filing period for the FY 2021 lottery ran from October 2, 2019 to November 5, 2019.
Impact of Presidential Proclamation on Immigrant Entry
A presidential proclamation issued in April temporarily suspends the entry of certain immigrants and limits the issuance of immigrant visas (including Diversity Lottery visas) by U.S. Consulates abroad until late June 2020. The practical impact of the order is limited, as most routine immigrant visa services have been suspended at U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad since mid-March as part of the State Department’s COVID-19 containment measures. Further, Diversity Visa lottery green card interviews will not be scheduled before October 1, 2020.
However, if the presidential proclamation is extended through this fall, it will prevent immigrant visa issuance to applicants who were outside the United States as of 11:59pm EDT on April 23, 2020, have not been issued an immigrant visa or similar U.S. travel document, and are not otherwise exempt. This could include DV entrants. The proclamation does not prevent the filing of adjustment of status applications while inside the United States for those who are eligible to do so.
Protect Yourself Against DV Lottery Fraud
DV lottery scams are a common form of immigration fraud. Unscrupulous individuals set up deceptive web pages that pose as official government sites or purport to be authorized by the State Department to accept or administer lottery entries, sometimes for a very high fee. They also try to entice foreign nationals to provide personal information and money with promises of winning lottery entries.
Take precautions to avoid becoming a victim of lottery fraud. Though you may seek legal counsel or other assistance in preparing a lottery application, be wary of commercial enterprises that claim you have won the lottery, purport to register applicants outside the official registration period or claim to be authorized by the government. No fees or personal information should be sent to a questionable individual or entity. Detailed information on DV lottery fraud is available from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the State Department.