Completing the DS260 for DV lottery entrants
Completing the DS260 for DV lottery entrants
OK – so the main task to process your DV lottery win is to complete a form online that is your “application” for immigration benefit. That form is the DS260.
The form itself might seem daunting, and it may take about 2 hours to complete. It is important that you prepare your information, and enter the details as accurately as possible. You will be able to make changes later on, but it makes sense to spend a few extra minutes early on to get this right.
You will some documents to complete the process and mostly you will need those now so gather them now and create a special file to start creating your DV lottery paperwork:-
- Passport information for you and your family members.
- Birth certificates for you and your family members.
- Your education history
- Your work history
- Your address history
- An address in the USA of a friend or family member. This is where your Green Card will be sent.
Ready? OK now let me guide you through completing the form:-
Enter the form for the first time.
You need your case number which will be in the format of YEAR-REGION-CASENUMBER. For example 2016AS00001234. This is the FULL case number including the “leading zeroes” in this case before the 1234. (In online forums we suggest hiding the last 2 or 3 digigits and dropping the leading zeroes – so when quoting your case on a forum you would state this number as 2016AS1XXX or 2016AS12XX. This protects your identity.)
The form will expect your date of birth in day/month/year order. This is odd because Americans write date in month/day/year order.
Once in the form you will go through a number of sections where you will enter your details. Most of the information is self explanatory – but here are screenshots for each section of how the forms will look for a simple case – and some comments about some of the questions. Please remember it is important to make sure your answers are YOUR answers. Don’t just copy what I am suggesting if the answer does not agree with your circumstances.
Here you will see a list of applicants attached to the case (based on the eDV entry). Click the link under “IV application” to complete the details for each applicant.
You can also add applicants from this page (if you have married since the original entry or had a child). Once you have added an applicant you cannot remove that applicant or change their name. So – please be careful about name spelling etc. It is also important to note that if you are adding a spouse or child that you already had prior to the original eDV entry but failed to mention in the original entry you will most probably be disqualified, as that is a critical error.
If you do have to add a child or spouse because of a birth or marriage while you are waiting to be interviewed, remember you will need to add an applicant AND in addition your own form will need to be unlocked so that you can add the new family relationship to your form.
2. Personal Information 1.
This is where you will enter your name information. It is a useful page to capture your name in English, but also in Native alphabet.
The names entered on this page should be as listed on your passport – but also use the “other names used” section to make sure you have covered combinations that appear in your documents. For example, if you have an education certificate that includes an additional family name, use the alias section to include that name. Also, use the alias section if you entered your name differently on the eDV entry. Entering your other names used here means USCIS have early notice to perform name checks on your various names used and therefore you can make sure your background check is comprehensive – which is exactly what you want to reduce the chances of being placed on AP or even refused for incomplete name information.
Complete the other details such as date of birth. If you somehow made a mistake on the eDV about your date of birth (for example during conversion from a different calendar) THIS is your opportunity to correct that mistake – please pay attention to that. This would normally agree with the date of birth on your birth certificate, but if that is not known, then use the date shown on your passport.
About city/state/country of birth. ON the eDV entry (where you entered the lottery) you will have entered something for your city of birth. The three levels are related to each other – so a CITY is sometimes denoted as being in a STATE (or province) and that STATE is within a COUNTRY. People sometimes are not sure what to enter so let me gives some examples.
You could have been born in Richmond which is a city/town in London, United Kingdom. So an acceptable answer (which should agree with the information on your birth certificate) would be:
Country: United Kingdom
Your passport should be valid for 6 months beyond the point of entry, but if your passport will expire during the DV process, you might be better submitting now with the current passport and updating later once you have the replacement passport. This is especially true if you have a low case number, and are therefore expecting an early interview. If you do need to renew your passport during the DV process, in many cases people have taken old and new passports to the interview without unlocking the form, but the preference would be to add the new passport details if time allows.
OK – hope that makes sense. Check what it says on your birth certificate. It is important that this information agrees to the birth certificate and the passport. By the way – your country of birth may not be the same as your nationality (which is on the next page). But your country of birth is what should have driven your entry into the lottery (eligibility is based on your country of birth, NOT your nationality).
The finished result should look something like this:-
3. Personal information 2
This page is about your travel documents (passport). Make sure you have the passport in front of you when you complete this page – accuracy is important as this will enable background checks.
Note, if you do not have a passport at this time you can complete the entry using another state issued ID, and then later unlock your forms to add the passport details. You WILL need a passport prior to interview as will any derivative (family member) of yours.
4. Present and previous address information
Try and complete this as accurately as possible. Provide all the address that you have LIVED at since the age of 16. If you stayed at a holiday home for a month or two, that does not need to be entered, but if you LIVED at an address for a few months then you should enter that address. You enter past address in reverse date order – meaning going backwards in time, one address at a time. Be as accurate as possible with the date you started living at each address (you can guess the dates within a month or two).
5. Mailing and Permanent Address Information
This is information about where you expect to stay in the USA OR the address of someone you can trust to receive your Green Card on your behalf. Most people can think of someone within their family or friends that could receive the GC for them. You should also know that you can change this address during the process – right up to the day your arrive in the USA for the first time.
6. Family information: Parents
OK – self explanatory information. I only show the top of the page in the screenshot below but you add your parents details and their addresses. THe data here should be accurate, but if you don’t know their birthdates etc. it is not a huge problem. Do the best you can.
7. Family information: Spouse and Previous Spouse
Enter the details as appropriate to your case. Remember, the information should be correct on the day you enter it. So, if you plan to marry in a month but want to submit your form today then you are SINGLE today. YOu can either delay submission of your form until you are married, or submit now as single and unlock your form later after the marriage. There is some information about marriage during the DV process here.
A previous spouse is entered when you divorced of a spouse passed away. You will be required to produce a divorce certificate or death certificate during the interview to tally with what you enter here.
8. Family information: Children
Fairly obviously you will need to enter information about each child you have, making sure their information ties with birth certificates and passports.
If your child is nearly 21 there may be special considerations for you. Please read this article on children aging out and their status under the CSPA.
If you are expecting a child to be born during the DV lottery processing period there are also procedures in place to obtain a Green Card for that child. I will address that with a new article.
One thing I would say, it is ESSENTIAL that you listed all your children in the eDV according to the instructions. If you made a mistake about that you may have caused yourself a problem. If you have a concern, contact me and explain your situation.
In the case shown in the screenshot below the applicant did not have any children.
9. Present work/education/training information
OK so this is important as education OR work experience are requirements of the DV lottery. Please read this article for more information about meeting the requirement. I cannot stress enough. You are only required to meet the education OR work experience – you do not have to prove BOTH. Of the two routes, education is the simplest and most reliable method, but some people cannot meet the education requirement – and although this may surprise you that includes me. I have had a very successful career in the IT field and have demonstrated my skills to earn a H1 visa (which is category of visa for highly educated or highly skilled workers), BUT I could not have met the DV lottery requirement on education! So – think carefully whether you do or not – and act accordingly.
Enter the information about work and education based on what you are doing at present. If you are entering work experience and hope to qualify through work experience you should consider carefully the question about “does this job require 2 years of training or experience”. Again, read the article above to understand that better.
10. Previous work/education/training information
OK – so this will vary depending on what you did before your present occupation. Maybe you had a different job, maybe you studied. Whichever is true you must enter that information here and create a complete history of your work, education and training. Try and get the dates to be accurate and make sure that those dates make sense with the address information you gave previously.
This page can end up being quite long and for the screenshots I have had to break it into two pieces. Just take your time and make it make sense. You can add another occupation (work or edication). Again, you enter going “backwards” in time.
11. Additional work/education/training information.
Answer the questions truthfully on this page. If you answer Yes and a box opens for further details there will be instructions of what further detail they want.
12. Security and Background: Medical and Health information
Answer these questions carefully and truthfully.
The second question (about vaccinations) causes some debate. Truthfully it WILL NOT MATER whether you choose Yes or NO for that particular question. The right answer for 99% of people is NO, because you do not have “documentation to establish…”, even if you do have records of vaccinations. So, it is a subtle point but whether you answer yes or no it will not mater. The vaccinations you actually need will be decided by the panel physician at the time of your medical. So by all means gather whatever vaccination documentation you have.
13. Security and Background: Criminal
Answer these questions truthfully. Most criminal convictions will not cause disqualification, and you will have a chance to explain at the interview. The crimes that can cause disqualification are called “crimes of moral turpitude”. It is a vague term and perhaps one that I will write about to clarify but most people by far will not have a problem even if they have a criminal conviction. Previous immigration fraud is not surprisingly one of the crimes that can cause an issue which is why it is essential you always tell the truth on these applications.
14. Security and Background: Security 1
Again – answer these truthfully.
15. Security and Background: Security 2
Again – answer the questions truthfully.
16. Security and Background: Immigration law violations
As I mentioned earlier – they take immigration law violations seriously!
17. Security and Background: Miscellaneous 1
Again answer truthfully.
The skilled or unskilled labor question has sparked some debate. In reality if you intend to work in the USA then the answer to this is Yes – but this is another question that will not cause a problem no matter which response your choose.
18. Security and Background: Miscellaneous 2
Again these just need truthful answers.
The healthcare professional one is another question that really doesn’t matter how you answer it. If you are a healthcare worker don’t be afraid to admit that.
The public charge question should be answered NO. Public charge means financial assistance from the government. You must realize that the Green Card lottery winners should not be claiming “public assistance”. There are some exceptions to that statement, but in general you are expected to support yourself. The USA is a land of opportunity, not free gifts.
19. Social security number
Answer these three questions as shown below unless you already have a SSN from a previous period in the USA. USCIS will (in theory) forward your details to the social security administration (SSA) to apply for your SSN. In practice many people find this does not happen correctly and delays are caused in getting the SSN after you enter the USA. Since the SSN is so important for many purposes here in the USA that is a nuisance, so I always suggest people visit the SSA office after a couple of weeks to make sure your SSN is “in the system”. You should receive the SSN card itself about 2 to 3 weeks after entering the USA.
Submitting the form.
OK so you have completed your form. You do the same for each derivative (family member). Check all the forms carefully, take screenshots if you like and when you are ready, submit the form. You should then print the confirmation page. You will be able to review the form later in review mode and can also take screenshots at that point.
You may also be prompted to fill out a form for “selected service”. Any us resident male under 26 years old is required to register for selective service. This does not not mean you will need to serve in the military, but if there was some crisis that required additional military men under 26 years old will be picked by a lottery to be inducted into the military.
The form will become “locked” so that you will not be able to edit it although you will be able to review the information after you submitted it. If you need at any time prior to your interview to unlock the form you can do so by emailing KCC who generally respond within a few days. Once unlocked you can make changes.
Once KCC have your form they will “process” it. They conduct background checks based on the information you have told them and access to official records. The processing period in DV2015 took around 4 to 5 months because of the volume of forms submitted around the same time. So, if you have a very low case number and you delay the submission of your DS260 there is a chance you could delay the interview date – BUT don’t worry, you will simply be interviewed later. Interviews are conducted based on case number order but only from a pool of cases that have completed their DS260 processing.