2011 DV Lottery Begins Oct 2, 2009 : DV 2010 “Winners” Need to Act

October 1, 2009 marks the start of fiscal year 2010 (FY10). Thus, eligible diversity visa lottery winners for 2010 (DV-2010) can move forward with their permanent resident (or “green card”) cases. The lottery program allocates 50,000 visa numbers for immigrant visas each year to certain countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Nationals of countries like India, the United Kingdom, and Canada were not eligible to apply under the DV-2010 lottery program since there are many immigrants from these countries already in the United States. The DV-2011 lottery application process begins on October 2, 2009, thus, it will soon be possible to submit an application to be eligible for next fiscal year’s quota.

Respond Immediately but Carefully to Winner Letter

In each fiscal year the U.S. Department of State (DOS) selects more “winners” than there are visa numbers available. Therefore, simply receiving a selection letter under the lottery program does not guarantee an immigrant visa. According to the DOS, approximately 102,800 applicants were selected and registered under the DV-2010 lottery. The reason for notifying more than 50,000 people is that some will not follow through with the visa application and others will not qualify. Therefore, more individuals are notified to increase the odds of actually issuing the allocated 50,000 immigrant visas in each fiscal year. These letters should have been received in June or July 2009. Those who are not selected do not receive any notification.

It is necessary to follow the directions in the winner letters carefully. Entrants who reside outside the United States need to process and obtain the immigrant visa from the U.S. consulates abroad. Those who are in the United States must either file for adjustment of status or select consular processing. For all applicants, it is necessary to meet both the legal and procedural requirements for either adjustment of status or consular processing. Those with questions about their filings should contact a qualified immigration attorney.

Winners Must Complete Processing by September 30, 2010

The lottery program ends September 30th each year, as that is the final day of the USCIS fiscal year. The DV-2010 program will end September 30, 2010. Applicants, therefore, must complete the adjustment of status or consular processing procedures, through to case approval, no later than September 30, 2010, to obtain DV-2010 immigration benefits. The chance of success following selection depends, in part, upon the lottery case number assigned. Visa number availability depends upon the case number and is tracked by DOS in the monthly Visa Bulletin.

While the lottery is a viable option for many, no one should depend upon the lottery until s/he receives the final green card approval. It is best to continue to explore and pursue other immigration options while one’s lottery case is pending.

DV-2011 Opens October 2, 2009

The DV-2011 lottery year opens soon. Initial information on that is now available online and applications will be accepted from October 2, 2009 through November 30, 2009. More information regarding DV-2011 should be available through the link provided above shortly. This information will include the eligible countries and FAQs. As mentioned, this program is only for individuals from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

Can Use Lottery Even if Other GC Case Filed

Individuals who potentially are eligible for the DV lottery often ask whether they can enter if they already have started a different type of green card case. The answer is yes, it is possible to have a lottery case and an employment, family, or other type of green card case pending. In many situations, a successful lottery case will be much faster than other types of green card cases. As stated, however, lottery cases are always very uncertain and one should not abandon other immigration options unless and until permanent residence is obtained.


The lottery provides unexpected and significant immigration benefits to a lucky few each year. Only nationals of certain countries are eligible and may apply, as set forth in the instructions issued each year. While one’s chances of selection are slim, there are winners each year, and the government charges no fees for the initial application process. Every year, we at the Murthy Law Firm find that we represent some of the successful lottery applicants and assist them with obtaining their green cards, either through adjustment of status or through consular processing. Since the program is time sensitive, those with questions, or in need of help with lottery matters should seek the assistance of a qualified immigration attorney promptly. We at the Murthy Law Firm are always happy to help anyone in need of immigration law assistance.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.