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The current coronavirus pandemic has affected almost all activities and processes around the world. Nothing seems to be immune to it. In the United States, many states have restricted travel and immigration. The USCIS has limited its operations, and most processing work is on hold.
The latest addition to the list is the 2021 Diversity green card lottery and the results. It was postponed by almost a month. In this article, we’ll summarize everything you need to know about the delay.
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Apart from the regular visas that the USCIS issues, there’s also a different segment of visas it offers. These are Diversity Immigration visas, otherwise known as green card lottery or simply diversity visas. You may have heard certain immigrants talking about how lucky they were in coming into the United States and getting a green card. Every year, 50,000 people or so randomly get selected for this visa and are allowed to become citizens.
Throughout history, it was observed that the majority of the immigrants were coming from a handful of countries. To balance the immigrants and improve diversity, the USCIS started the Diversity Visa program in 1986. With this program, people who had no chance of making it to the United States through any legal method were allowed to become permanent residents. Previously, these visas were awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis, but now an online portal is maintained, and visas are awarded based on multiple factors.
This program is administered by the US State Department, which receives the applications and selects and notifies the applicants accordingly. Since more than 95% of them live outside of the United States, they go through the State Department to receive their green cards.
Generally, two things are taken into consideration while checking your eligibility for the Diversity Visa program.
To be eligible for the Diversity Visa program, you must be a citizen of a country from which fewer than 50,000 immigrants have come to the United States over the last five year.s
Every year the list of countries changes, and you should check with the State Department’s website for more details. Even if you’re not a citizen of that country, you can still be eligible for the visa program under the following circumstances:
The second thing which will be considered is your level of education. You should have at least a high school education, along with two years of working experience within the past five years. This should be in a profession that requires a minimum of two years of training or as determined by the United States Department of Labor.
Applications are accepted through the State Department’s website in early October through November. Citizens from eligible countries should fill out the online form and upload relevant documents.
Each year, the results of the diversity green card lottery program are announced by the first week of May. This year, it was set on May 5, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was rescheduled to June 6, 2020. Almost 13,000 USCIS employees were asked to work from home to curb the spread of the pandemic. But as per reports, the USCIS is on track to resume complete operations by June 4. So, if everything stays within guidelines, we can expect the results to be released on June 6 without further delays.
As mentioned earlier, not all countries and their citizens are eligible for the Diversity Visa program. The list keeps changing with some countries being disqualified for the next year and some countries being selected for that year. Certain countries like India, China, the United Kingdom, Mexico, and Canada are never eligible since they send more than 50,000 immigrants within a five-year time frame.
Countries considered for the 2021 Diversity Visa program:
Countries that did not qualify:
Many of these countries haven’t qualified for this visa since 1995.
To find out the status of your application, you need to follow these steps:
For Diversity Visa Lottery DV-2022, the deadline for application is October 15, 2020; the lottery will be conducted March 1, 2021. It is very important to keep up to date if you have applied for DV-2021. If you fail to complete your application, your spot will be passed on to someone else. If you have any questions, you should get in touch with a State Department official or an experienced immigration attorney.