|October 7, 2020, at 12:00 p.m. ET through November 10, 2020, at 12: p.m. ET|
The Diversity Visa (DV) Program was mandated by the U.S. Congress in order to address the historically low number of immigrants from certain countries. Normally, a prospective immigrant must have a family member already in the U.S. in order to benefit from an Immigrant Visa petition, but the DV Program grants eligibility to apply for a visa to qualified persons even if they do not have a qualifying relative in the United States. Thus, a Diversity Visa should be considered in the same light as an Immigrant Visa, although with a different source and qualification process. Because many more people apply for the program each year than there are available visas, selection is made at random by a computer — hence the popular name “Visa Lottery.”
It must be clearly understood that being selected to participate in the DV program does not guarantee that the applicant will be issued a visa. The standards for qualification are simple, but strictly enforced. In place of the family relationship, each applicant must demonstrate either a sufficient level of education or a combination of qualifying skills and work experience, and must meet all other eligibility criteria for an immigrant to the U.S.
There is no cost to register for the DV Program. All entries for the DV must be submitted electronically on the Electronic Diversity Visa (E-DV) website at dvprogram.state.gov during the specified registration period. The law allows only one entry by or for each person during each registration period. You are strongly encouraged to complete the entry form yourself, without a “Visa Consultant,” “Visa Agent,” or other facilitator who offers to help. If somebody else helps you, you should be present when your entry is prepared so that you can provide the correct answers to the questions and retain the confirmation page and your unique confirmation number.
Click here for further instructions and information about the Diversity Visa process.
Scheduling an appointment
- Your initial appointment will be scheduled by the Kentucky Consular Center. It is very important that you do not miss your assigned appointment date. Visas are allocated by month, and if you do not come to your interview in the month you are scheduled, you may not be able to receive a visa, even if you are qualified. The end of the DV year is September 30th. At this point, all appointment slots have been taken, and we will be unable to reschedule any applicants for any reason.
- If you need to reschedule your appointment, you must contact the Lome consular section at ConsularLome@State.gov. If you are just waiting for an Affidavit of Support from your sponsor or the results of your medical exam, you do NOT need to reschedule. Please still come at the right time, and let the consular staff know what you are missing. For fastest service, please include your name, your case number (If you have it), and the word “Reschedule” in the subject line of your e-mail.
- The applicant must bring all applications and supporting documents on the day of the interview. Any documents sent to the Embassy before the interview by e-mail, fax or other delivery services will be destroyed. The applicant must pay all visa fees before the interview.
- The applicant will be interviewed by a commissioned consular officer. The officer will first determine if the applicant (the Diversity Visa winner) is qualified for the visa. Please read the instructions for the Diversity Visa carefully.
- Please do not make any major life changes (such as quitting your job) or travel plans until you have received a visa. We also discourage you from selling all your property or taking any loans you would be unable to repay if you are refused your visa. Many applicants are refused, and some qualified applicants may not receive visas after their scheduled interview month because their visas are no longer available.
- Because the essential criteria for qualification for a Diversity Visa are so straight-forward, applicants must understand that a refusal under this program is final, and will not be reconsidered.
- If the consular officer determines you are qualified for the visa, the Consular Section will process the case to completion as expeditiously as possible under the provisions of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act of 1990, current State Department policy, and good administrative practice. The process of assembling the supporting documentary package and performing the necessary accountability review normally takes two to three weeks. The Consular section will inform successful applicants what date their visas will be ready for pick-up. We strongly recommend that applicants do not make any travel plans until they have their passport and visa in their hands.
- Diversity Lottery Application–No Fee
- There is no fee to register for the Diversity Visa Program.
Diversity Visa fee
- The current fee for the Diversity Visa is $330 (currently 195,000 CFA) for the applicant and each derivative (spouse and/or child). The applicant must pay the fee directly at the Consular Cashier Window, in cash, before the interview. Current fees for all types of immigrant visas can be found here.
USCIS Immigrant fee
- All individuals issued immigrant visas overseas must pay a $165.00 USCIS Immigrant Fee to USCIS before traveling to the United States. Only prospective adoptive parents whose child(ren) is/are entering the United States under either the Orphan or Hague Process, Iraqi and Afghan special immigrants who were employed by the U.S. government, returning residents, and those issued K visas are exempt from the new fee. If you have further questions, the USCIS website has more details on this fee, including contact information for USCIS.