What To Do After Winning The Green Card Lottery? Read Here

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

So, you’ve won the lottery! Surely you’re excited about the prospect of receiving a permanent residence grant in the United States. But, wait, did you know that you still need to go through another application process?

Well, in true sense, the lottery only wins you an opportunity to apply for a green card. For most applicants (who do not enroll in the green card lottery), the process is quite long. There are several formalities and eligibility criteria that they need to fulfill. Sounds disheartening, right? Don’t worry; we’ve got your back.

Following the proper steps and familiarizing yourself with the processes involved, you can win your permanent resident status.

If You’re Living Outside The US

For most applicants living outside the US, consular processing is the only way. The applicants are required to apply for an immigrant visa with the US consulate or embassy in their region. Following this, they are allowed to enter the US, where they may be granted permanent residence in the country.

Apply For Visa

You’ll need to fill, Form DS-260. You can also fill out the form online. And you’ll need to fill the form for your entire family or the immigrants that will accompany you. On submission of the form, you’ll be prompted to submit your documents. Kentucky Consular Center, which runs the diversity visa program, would then go through your documents and application.

Appearing For Visa Interview

On screening, the Kentucky Consular Center would notify you of the date of your visa interview. You would need to complete your Green Card Lottery Application process, including applying for a diversity visa and the interview. It is noteworthy that the time to complete this process is limited. The interviews are scheduled on an early-come-early-serve basis.

Confirming Your Eligibility

Following your interview, the consulate would once again confirm your documentation and eligibility. Upon approval, you’ll be granted an immigrant visa which would be valid for six months. In other words, you’ll need to enter the US within six months of your visa grant to secure your green card.

If You’re Already Living In The US

The diversity visa program is also open to immigrants living in the US. Immigrants with EB-5 visas, special work permits, or spouse visas can also enroll in the program.

For immigrants already living in the US but do not have a green card, the process is relatively straightforward.

Apply For Change Of Status

Upon winning the green card lottery, you will need to apply for a change of immigrant status. The application and approval, in this case, are processed by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. You’ll need to complete form I-485 and pay a diversity visa fee. In most cases, if you have no criminal record or fulfill other eligibility criteria, the process is relatively smooth.

The Takeaway

Winning the green card lottery does not mean that you would be granted permanent citizenship in the US. It instead initiates the process of securing permanent citizenship. Like other immigrants, you’ll still need to go through the initial screening process. And likewise, you would have to fulfill eligibility criteria.


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