How do I know who was selected in the visa lottery?

In my column This week's Consulta Migratoria® answers a question from a reader who wants to know the results of the visa lottery and how to claim one of these visas.

Here is some general information. Please consult with an immigration attorney for personalized legal advice before beginning any proceedings.

This is the column:

In October 2016 I registered for the visa lottery draw. How do I find out if I was favored in the draw and what should I do to claim the visa if I have won it? -Ana S.

Ana, the Department of State has already released the results of the FY 2018 Diversity Visa Program lottery. Below, I explain how to research the results and what to do if you were favored by the lottery.

How to check visa lottery results

You must go to the website "DV Incoming Status Check" to see if you are among the winners.

To verify if you were selected, you need the following information:

  1. Confirmation number that the Federal Government gave you when you completed the application. The number has the following format: 2018xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
  2. Your last name as it appears on your visa lottery lottery entry.
  3. Your year of birth.

If you lost your confirmation number, you will have to go to the following web page "Verify Entrant" to obtain it. You will need to verify your identity by providing your first and last name, date of birth and the email address you used to enter the sweepstakes.

What to do when you win the visa lottery

If your name appears on the list, you must act immediately to apply for your visa, as there is a limited time to apply. If you do not do so within the time limit, you may lose the right to your visa.

If you were selected, you can only apply for your visa during the 2018 fiscal year, which runs from October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018.

Without exception, all eligible selectees must obtain their visa or adjust their status before the end of the fiscal year because the benefits of this visa cannot be carried over to the following year.

After following all the instructions given on the web page "DV Incoming Status Check"If you live abroad, they will begin processing your case. If you live abroad, you will receive a notice with the date that you must appear for your visa interview at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy or at a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office if you plan to apply for adjustment of status within the United States.

All requirements must be met in order to claim the visa.

Winning the lottery does not guarantee that you will be approved for permanent residence. In addition to being eligible for the visa lottery program, you must meet all immigrant visa eligibility requirements under U.S. immigration law, including being admissible to the country.

Unfortunately, many people who are not eligible for the visa lottery apply for the program. If they are lucky enough to be chosen in the lottery, in order to continue with the process, the federal government verifies their eligibility. If they find that a person is ineligible or did not follow the program registration instructions, they will be disqualified and will not be able to proceed with visa processing.

Remember, every person selected must be admissible to the country to obtain permanent residency through this visa program.

Individuals who are or have been undocumented in the United States, who are subject to immigration penalties or restrictions, or who have criminal records or immigration arrests should be very careful. Before proceeding with the immigrant visa process, they should consult with an immigration attorney to ensure that they meet all the requirements and are eligible to apply for permanent residence.

Doing the process when they do not qualify is a waste of time and money, because the federal government does not refund fees paid if the person is not eligible. In addition, undocumented persons within the United States could be targeted by immigration authorities.