Frequently Asked Questions

DV Process Go To Top

Child over 21

If you child turns 21 during the DV lottery process you might still be able to include them on your case - please read about that in this article.

How to change interview location

Not yet scheduled for interview

Interview location is normally based on your current address. If you are not yet current, the process to change your interview location is a 2 step process.

  1. You unlock the DS260 to change your current address to the new address (new country) and resubmit the form.
  2. Email KCC and ask them to change the interview location.

Changing early enough will not delay your case. If you leave this too late KCC may not be able to do this.

 

Already scheduled

If you are already scheduled for an interview, the process to change is more complicated, and you should ONLY do it if it cannot be done any other way. Ideally you need to check with the new embassy whether they will schedule your case. They might not accept it or they might accept it but much later than your original interview. If you still want to change, you contact the original embassy and ask them to transfer your case to the new embassy.

During the transfer your case status on CEAC will show "Transfer". The transfer can take time and if something goes wrong between the two embassies you can get significantly delayed.

As I mention - ONLY do this if you have no choice.

How to check your case status on CEAC

CEAC is the system that shows basic case information for all DV cases.

You can access the system at this link.

To check your number you enter your case number without the "leading" zeros.

So - if your number is 2017AF000012305, you enter 2017AF12305 (removing the leading zeros that I show in bold).

CEAC data is not available for the first few months of each year - it generally becomes available around the beginning of January in the processing year. So - for instance, DV2016 starting processing on October 1, 2015 but the CEAC data wasn't available until January 1, 2016.

 

So what do the status codes mean.

The first status for every case is “AT NVC”. You can ignore the text on the case – the case has not been passed to NVC.  What this status means is that the case is in one of the following situations.

  1. The case is not yet current.
  2. The case is current, BUT the DS260 has not be submitted at all, or it was submitted but not processed yet – and therefore not scheduled.
  3. The case is current, the form is processed, but it is waiting to be scheduled (typically because the cases have not yet been sent to the embassies yet).

PLEASE IGNORE the NVC information that appears - it is a standard message and DOES NOT APPLY to DV cases

 

“In Transit”

This status is shown for a brief period when KCC has scheduled the interview, and transferred the case to the embassy. However, the embassy has not yet updated CEAC to acknowledge they have received the case.

“READY”

This is the next status after in transit. It means the case has arrived at the embassy for interview. Sometimes a case will continue to show ready even after the interview.

“Issued”

Pretty obviously – this is the status we all want to see! The interview took place, was successful and the visa has been approved/issued.

“Refused”

This is the status no one wants to see, meaning the interview took place and the selectee was denied. A derivative can be refused, while the principal is approved. However, if the principal is refused – all the derivatives are refused also – even if the embassy fails to update CEAC.

“Administrative Processing”

This is when someone did not have all the documents at the interview OR some additional checks are needed before the case can be adjudicated. AP can last a few days or several months. The status updates during that time are meaningless.

Derivative number.

For cases that are scheduled we can see the related derivative numbers. Case 01 is the principal and derivatives are case 02, 03 and so on.

Thanks to a smart guy called Rafikbo, I am able to extract all the CEAC data. I will shortly publish that data and will update that about twice a month. The data lets us understand the progress, predict cutoffs and interviews and so on. So – this is a valuable resource that we can all use to understand the process better. Hopefully this post will help you to understand…

 

 

What is Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status?

There is a difference in how you process depending on whether you are in the USA or abroad, please read about the differences between the two methods here.

DV winner - do I need a lawyer?

Do you need a lawyer to process your DV win - usually not - read more here.

Do I need to show savings?

Sometimes yes. Please read this guide about public charge.

Getting married during the lottery process

Check out this guide on getting married during the DV process.

What questions will be asked in the interview?

Please read this link about questions.

Will assets like property and jewelry be counted at the interview

Assets are considered "liquid", "non-liquid" and perhaps "semi liquid".

Liquid assets are things like cash in the bank. Assets that you can immediately access with no delay. This is the most important type of asset to show for avoiding public charge grounds.

Non-liquid assets are things that you own that may be hard to "liquidate" - meaning it is hard/time consuming to make the cash available. This type of asset is not as useful to show during the immigration process, because of the time it takes to release the asset. The COs don't want to have to look at valuations, mortgage papers, and so on to take these assets into account. There is also a guideline that vastly reduces the value of these assets that can be taken into account to 20% of the net value of the asset - so we can see that in general it is not worth showing these assets in any detail. By all means, you can mention the house you own, and even have valuations prepared, but it may not be of interest to the CO.

Semi liquid assets are things like cars, jewelry and so on. Things that could be sold more easily than a house, but not as easy to access as a liquid asset. Again, these aren't too useful during the immigration interview. The issue with these assets is that the values depreciate and are very subjective until you actually sell them. So - you buy a piece of gold jewelry for $5000 - and the value is probably far less than that - basically the value of the gold by weight. Same with cars - the CO won't want to step outside the embassy to check out your car in the parking lot to understand its value. So - if you are seriously planning to liquidate these assets to fund your move, you may want to consider doing some of that BEFORE the interview - so that you can show the value in savings.

DV process versus Family Based immigration

Many times I get asked about the process to sponsor a spouse after the DV lottery win. People sometimes tell me they want to apply for the DV visa without their spouse and will sponsor their spouse to go to the USA later when they have settled. That is almost always a  bad idea – and I warn people that it will take a lot longer and be more expensive than the simple DV process.

So – let me explain that to make this a bit more clear.

The DV lottery process is the easiest, cheapest way to get a Green Card – there is no USA immigration process that is anywhere near as easy. For DV you fill in your DS260, have an interview, pay some small fees and you are given a Green Card. You don’t have a formal sponsor, and if you do require a financial sponsor the form they fill out is the I-134 – that carries NO obligation for the sponsor.

Anyone who has been interviewed for DV should know this - and I cannot stress enough – the DV process is EXTREMELY EASY when compared to other immigration processing.

 

If however someone chooses to go through family based immigration the process is a lot harder.

  • The forms are more complicated and people often need help from a lawyer.
  • The fees are typically higher (depends on the process – but it is not cheaper than DV).
  • The case requires a financial undertaking (form I-864) which creates a legal obligation on the sponsor. Typically the petitioner would be that sponsor for the spouse, but that means the petitioner (you) have to be working in the USA with an income to meet their tests. That means it might be a while before you can submit the paperwork.
  • Once you submit the paperwork you have to wait. To sponsor a spouse, the current waiting time is almost 2 years. During that time you will most likely be apart.

 

So – it is possible for a DV lottery winner to process their own case and later sponsor their spouse through Family based immigration. However, that is making a simple process into a complicated one. Why would you do that????

 

Will applying for DV-2017 affect my previous win

People ask various questions about entering DV-2017 or future lotteries - here are some example questions :-

 

"Can I apply for DV-2017 without it affecting my previous DV-2016 win (as I am waiting for interview)?"

No Problem. You can apply for DV-2017 with no impact to the DV-2016 you are already processing.

 

"I won a previous year but was not able to process my case, will that improve my chances of being selected for DV-2017?"

No - there is no connection - the draw is random. You have no better, or no worse chance of selection.

 

"I was interviewed and refused in a previous DV lottery - can I apply again for DV-2017?"

Yes you can. You must of course overcome whatever caused the refusal last time.

How do I unlock my DS260

To unlock your case, you must send an email to KCC – Their email address is KCCDV@state.gov

You need to include your full name, Full case number (like 2015AF00031999) and your date of birth in Month/Day/Year format (MM/DD/YYYY)

You do not need to provide a reason to unlock. So you email can have the following format.

 

Email subject: Unlock request

 

Email Body:

Name: Firstname Middlename lastname

Case Number: 2015AF00031999

Date of Birth: 10/23/1981

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

Please unlock my DS260 form as I would like to make some revisions.

Thank you.

 

If you are unlocking the case of a derivative, you need to include the details shown above for the principal selectee, AND then make clear which derivative form you need to be unlocked.

Note that it can take as little as a few hours to get your form unlocked, but in busier times it can take up to 2 weeks. Once the form is unlocked, KCC email you.

KCC will not unlock your form once your case has been scheduled, and there is a period of time just before your 2NL is sent when your case cannot be unlocked because it is already scheduled in their system even though it has not gone to the embassy yet. That period of time is just after the VB has been released up until the 2NL goes out.

What does the 2NL look like

The 2NL (2nd notification letter) is actually a two part notification. It is important because it is the notification of the interview appointment. The 1NL is the letter that said "you have been selected". The 2NLs are sent out about one to two weeks after the visa bulletin release. The VB is typically released in the first half of each month (between the 8th and 15th of each month) and the 2NLs are sent in the 2nd half of the month.

 

So - when KCC sends the 2NLs. First KCC sends out an email, and that email directs you to check the Entrant Status Check site.

 

So the email looks like this:-

 

11947460_897240983645384_3664801239231079278_n

Notes that it is from "noreply@state.gov".

You can also see that it directs you to check the ESC - www.dvlottery.state.gov/ESC

Once you login to that site you will see a letter with appointment details - this is the actual 2NL - and it looks like this:-

 

2NL

Since the email has no information, you don't actually need it. When you hear that 2NLs are going out (and you expect you will be scheduled) you can check the ESC page and get your interview details. If you don't have the 2NL details in the ESC, then you should simply check the next month.

 

 

What is the meaning of the classification DV, DV2 and so on

DV1 Diversity principal, new arrival.

DV2 Spouse of DV1 or DV6, new arrival.

DV3 Child of DV1 or DV6, new arrival.

DV6 Diversity principal, adjustment.

DV7 Spouse of DV1 or DV6, adjustment.

DV8 Child of DV1 or DV6, adjustment.

Can a derivative continue after death of the principal selectee

This is a horrible scenario of course, but let us imagine the principal winner has died and the derivatives want to continue the process. Can they do that?

We for DV cases, no.

The 9 FAM note says this:-
9 FAM 42.33 N5.2-2 In Death of Principal Beneficiary and/or Applicant
(CT:VISA-1768; 10-31-2011)
The death of the principal beneficiary and/or applicant must result in the automatic revocation of the application. Thereafter, derivative beneficiaries are no longer entitled to the DV classification.

So - prior to the interview, the case would simply be unable to be approved.

Death of the principal after interview (but before entry to the USA) the case would also be affected. Each derivative would be in a classification (such as DV2 or DV3), and the POE procedure demands that the principal (DV1) apply for entry to the USA either with or before the derivatives. So - the derivatives cannot use their one time use visas without the principal.

Once the principal and derivatives have entered the USA and have become LPRs the subsequent death of the principal would have no impact on the status of the derivatives - at that point their status is unconditional.

What does this KCC email mean

There are three standard responses people tend to get from KCC. The meanings are explained below.

 

What do their responses mean?

KCC staff tend to use some Generic emails over and over rather than typing specific responses. DV experts are asked OVER and OVER again – what do these responses mean. So – here is what they mean!

Typically people are emailing to see if their DS260 has been processed yet – and for that question you will typically get one of three answers depending on how far your forms are processed.

Stage 1. Processing

“Your forms have been received and are currently processing. Allow several weeks for processing. Interviews are scheduled numerically based on case numbers that have completed processing.”

This means your forms are still being processed. Most people are waiting around 4 months for this processing – hence what we are calling the DS260 backlog. Hopefully that will increase speed – but right now – this post explains the timelines.

Stage 2. Pending Embassy Review

“Your forms have been received and pending further embassy review for the continuation of your visa processing”

This one means your DS260 forms have completed processing. If your case number is already current, you will get scheduled for interview in the next batch. If your number is not current you will get scheduled once your number goes current.

 

Stage 3. Right in the middle of being scheduled

There is one more message that is quite rare. It says something like “Your case is current and being scheduled”.

You will only get this message during the period of time when the VB has been set (announced, or about to be announced) and before you see the 2NL itself. If you see that response, just wait patiently!!

 

 

Hope that helps you – and hopefully less of you will ask what these generic messages mean. I will add any others here I can think of.

What are the diseases that can cause denial

The medical is not so much a medical to ascertain the fitness or suitability of the immigrant to live in the USA, it is mainly a screening for diseases that the USA does not want to expose its residents to from the immigrant population. These are "communicable diseases of public health significance" as defined by the CDC.

 

The list of diseases currently (October 2016) is:-

  1. Tuberculosis
  2. Syphilis
  3. Gonorrhea
  4. Hansen's Disease (Leprosy)

This list might be updated from time to time and can be found here:

http://www.cdc.gov/immigrantrefugeehealth/exams/diseases-vaccines-included.html

 

In addition, the physician is responsible for checking the vaccinations of the immigrant to meet the list of vaccine preventable diseases - also linked above. This latter list will not cause denial however, as long as someone is vaccinated.

What is "public charge"?

Please read this guide about public charge.

I-134 or I-864

Please read this article.

Why is my newly added spouse or child missing from the 2NL?

When 2NLs go out, I am being asked why some derivatives are not on the 2NL.

 

The 2NL is normally based on the family members that were on the eDV. So, if you had a child since the entry or got married that new derivative may be missing from the DS260 even though you added the derivative on the DS260.

Similarly, if someone has decided that a derivative will not be applying for the Green Card they may be surprised to see the derivative listed on the 2NL.

In both cases that is not a problem. RELAX!

However, new derivatives do need to have their documents and medicals. Sometimes a physician will not want to perform the medical on someone without the 2NL. In that case you can print the DS260 conformation form for each of the beneficiaries and show that to the physician in order to arrange the medical.

That will normally do the trick although some offices of IOM (medical service in some countries) think they know better and will remain difficult. With them, just remain firm - and explain that THEY DO NOT SET THE RULES! Some selectees have taken the bad advice from IOM and caused delay to their cases by arriving at the interview without medicals.

 

 

How to prepare for the interview

How to prepare for the interview.

How to add a baby to the DV case

No need to panic - this is explained fully in this article.

My interview went well, but now CEAC shows AP - what is happening?

Many people experience this. The interview goes well, the CO says you are approved and then within a day or two the CEAC system shows the status has been updated to AP (Administrative Processing). So - that means one of two things is happening.

The usual thing is that the CEAC is updated to AP during the finalization of the processing. That typically lasts one or two days (work days, not counting weekends), and then the status is updated to "Issued". For the majority of cases this is what happens, it is nothing to worry about. Some people never even notice the brief period in AP, and some people just see the status stay on ready for days after the interview, then it is updated to Issued OR the passport is delivered. None of that is a problem!

The second case is where a case is "approved" in the interview and then the case needs some time in "real" AP. This can happen when the supervisors at the embassy review the cases approved by the CO and decide a case needs some checks. That type of AP can last days, weeks, even months - and is obviously very worrying for the selectee. So - if you case stays in AP after a successful interview for several days (let's say a week), then the second type of AP has started. There is NOTHING you can do about that - you just have to wait.

 

 

I made XXX mistake in my original entry - will I be disqualified?

I am asked this several times a day - so let me try and explain the issue, and how serious it is - and how to give yourself the best chance.

 

Ok - so let's say you made a mistake on the original entry. This often happens when you have foolishly had someone else complete this very simple entry form for you (called the eDV). You are responsible for what was entered there, so it is better that you did it yourself, but still, mistakes happen.

 

So what sort of mistakes could be made?

Some mistakes are amazingly common.

  • Date of birth errors (sometimes caused by date conversion mistakes, sometimes agents, other times I have no idea why!)
  • Name spelling errors. (example Muhammad versus Muhamed)
  • Names that differ in some way from documents such as education certificates.

So - is this a problem. Well, at most embassies, a single small mistake will be forgiven. By simple I mean things like a day (or year Or month)  difference in the date of birth , a simple mistake in a name (an obvious typing mistake).  However, if you have the day, month and year of the date of birth wrong, that is more serious. Likewise, missing whole names (like a middle name) is more serious. However, even these more serious mistakes can be overlooked in some cases. However, some cases have a combination of errors, wrong name, wrong date of birth and so on. It should not be a surprise that an error of this type is much more serious and could be quite likely to cause denial. This is because the simple little mistakes combined give an impression that there was some attempt to hide the true identity of the winner - perhaps masking multiple entries.

So - we could characterize the risks in this way.

  1. Simple, small mistake (single letter mistake for example) on one thing (name OR date of birth) - LOW risk
  2. Bigger mistake such as a missed or different name) on one thing - MEDIUM risk
  3. Several mistakes on one entry - HIGH risk.

Now, I should say that some low risk cases have been denied, and some high risk cases have been approved. You cannot be certain how the CO will react in any given case. it partly depends on the credibility of the selectee, and the other aspects of the case (whether other documents are all in order and so on).

Other factors that increase the risk include having the interview at one of the embassies where many fraudulent cases are presented. Ghana is the most obvious example of that - and West Africa in general seems to suffer more than their fair share of "innocent mistakes". As a reaction to that, the embassies are strict and will often find a reason to disqualify an entry where their suspicions are raised. So - if you have a simple mistake, but you are interviewing in Ghana or a similar embassy, you are likely to be refused.

What can you do about the mistakes?

OK so you have realized you have mistake(s) on your eDV - what do you do? Well, you can't change what is on the eDV. You can't even request to see the form if you didn't keep a screenshot. If you were trying to cheat in some way, you may as well give up now.

However, to ensure that background checks are  completed accurately the most important thing is to be accurate on the DS260. The name  should match your legal name. That should match your passport and your birth cert, unless you have proof of a name change like marriage. If your date of birth is the problem, it should match the date of birth on the birth certificate. That is the best you can do. That way, the CO will see that you made a mistake, but he/she will know that KCC carried out background checks on the correct data.

If you have educational documents that do not match your name/DOB in some way, you should think how you can prove the educational certificates are yours. Gather whatever proof you can of school attendance to reassure the CO that the certificates you are presenting are your certificates.

Checking the ESC page - how to check without mistakes

OK - many people enter their confirmation details in the ESC page and the system tells them that there is a problem in the data they are entering. For DV2018 - for a while that was a system glitch. However, the system glitch is now fixed and some people are still having a problem - so that probably means they are doing something wrong.

Every year I get many people telling me they have a problem. They SWEAR they are following the instructions correctly - so they send me their details. In every single case (except with the 2018 glitch), my attempt with their data works first time. Every. Single. Time.  That is after they have tried and I have told them what to do. So - this is a self inflicted error.

So - let me explain. The confirmation will have fields as shown below:

 

Entrant Name:

LOPEZ SMITH, ALEXANDER FRANK

Confirmation Number:

201831UD5N83FMN5

Year of Birth:

1991

Digital Signature:

C822F1F41B06722E67227050B9638ED4AAA02AXX

Hopefully you have that saved as data and not a jpg. Data is easier because you won't make a mistake Taking a "1" and confusing with "I, or "0" and "O" and so on.

 

  1. If you have the data you can copy the Confirmation code/number and open the ESC page. Enter that code and make sure there are no extra spaces after the code.
  2. Then enter your last name. The lastname is what appears *** BEFORE*** the comma. So, in the example above that is LOPEZ SMITH (some countries have two last names, some will have one).
  3. Then enter just the year of birth
  4. Enter the CAPTCHA code

Do that, and you should have no problem.

 

DS260 CASE NUMBER DOESN’T MATCH WITH THE CASE NUMBER

Some people are experiencing a problem during submission of their DV lottery DS260. They get a message that says "CASE NUMBER DOESN’T MATCH WITH THE CASE NUMBER"

In that case the following fix has worked for some people.

 

Where you enter your case number, remove the leading zeros. So - where the case number is for example 2018AF000012345 , you would enter 2018AF12345. Try that - it should then work.

 

How do I complete the DS260?

I created a guide to help you complete the DS260.

Easy guide to the DV lottery

Please take a few minutes to learn about the flow of the DV lottery process.

How are regional quotas calculated?

Thanks to "DV4Roger" for much of this explanation about the quota calculation.

Understanding how case numbers work and the draw process

There are a couple of articles I wrote for previous years that explain the draw process and what are the "holes" between the case numbers. This is important to understand if you want to understand the lottery process and how many people are in front of you in line.

Holes theory and draw process

Holes theory illustration

Follow to Join

Please read this post about Follow to Join

Are some embassies more lenient than others?

Are some embassies more lenient (easier) than others - YES. I analyzed the data and produced this league table.

Where can I find EVEN more DV information and useful links!

Here you go - useful links.

What were the visa bulletin numbers in previous year?

Here you go - historical visa bulletin numbers!

 

Please just remember that every year is different. The density of the entries is different, the response rate is different, the quotas are different. So - whilst previous years are interesting it is nonsensical to make assumptions based on numbers from several years ago.

How do I avoid DV lottery scams?

Please be careful - not everyone out there is as helpful as I am - some want to steal your money!

Prepare for Infopass

An Infopass appointment is useful in Adjustment of Status (AoS) cases to get an idea of how your case is going. Often, a well time and well prepared infopass appointment can get a case moving. Below I have pasted some notes I wrote in order to explain how to prepare for an Infopass.  An infopass is ONLY for AoS cases - those being processed in the USA. I hope it helps.

 

You need to prepare for the Infopass, because otherwise they fob you off and tell you to wait (because most people have to wait a lot longer than we do, so the IOs are very used to telling people to wait). Try and have a mental or written note of things to ask - I think of it like a checklist. These are the things that you need to have completed (Mom please add if there is anything missed).

  1. I-485 submitted and sent to the FO (obviously done otherwise you wouldn't be there, but just so you have a list).
  2. Biometric completed?
  3. Background/Name check completed?
  4. Receipts for the DV fee and the AoS fee (you should have those - but point them out).
  5. Have the FO requested the file from KCC? Have they received it? (check whether KCC say it's been requested or sent).


So, when you are at the infopass, thinking calm thoughts, don't get rushed and explain to the IO on the desk that you would like to check to see if everything is ready for the interview. Get them to agree and get them on your side. Then go through the list and ask them to confirm things (2, 3, and 5 are what you are asking them about). Once you confirm that all those things are ready, you are ready for the interview. If all that is ready, then POLITELY ask "OK, so what are we waiting for to schedule the interview?". 

If I were you I would also have the policy memo (link below) that counters the argument that DV cases are not subject to special processing. They are, and the memo (which is binding on the staff you will be talking to) confirms that. However, do not be aggressive or argumentative, instead talk about your fear that DV slots will run out as they did the last two years.

https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default...013/August/DV-Related I-485 Applications .pdf

Entering DV Lottery Go To Top

Does timing of the entry matter?

Does the day or time of the entry matter - how can I improve my chances....

Should I use an agent to apply for the lottery?

Don't use an agent to enter the lottery...

Eligibility - education or work experience

Eligibility - education or work experience - how to qualify for the lottery.

Eligibility to enter the lottery - Country of chargeability

Will applying for DV-2017 affect my previous win

People ask various questions about entering DV-2017 or future lotteries - here are some example questions :-

 

"Can I apply for DV-2017 without it affecting my previous DV-2016 win (as I am waiting for interview)?"

No Problem. You can apply for DV-2017 with no impact to the DV-2016 you are already processing.

 

"I won a previous year but was not able to process my case, will that improve my chances of being selected for DV-2017?"

No - there is no connection - the draw is random. You have no better, or no worse chance of selection.

 

"I was interviewed and refused in a previous DV lottery - can I apply again for DV-2017?"

Yes you can. You must of course overcome whatever caused the refusal last time.

Can a derivative continue after death of the principal selectee

This is a horrible scenario of course, but let us imagine the principal winner has died and the derivatives want to continue the process. Can they do that?

We for DV cases, no.

The 9 FAM note says this:-
9 FAM 42.33 N5.2-2 In Death of Principal Beneficiary and/or Applicant
(CT:VISA-1768; 10-31-2011)
The death of the principal beneficiary and/or applicant must result in the automatic revocation of the application. Thereafter, derivative beneficiaries are no longer entitled to the DV classification.

So - prior to the interview, the case would simply be unable to be approved.

Death of the principal after interview (but before entry to the USA) the case would also be affected. Each derivative would be in a classification (such as DV2 or DV3), and the POE procedure demands that the principal (DV1) apply for entry to the USA either with or before the derivatives. So - the derivatives cannot use their one time use visas without the principal.

Once the principal and derivatives have entered the USA and have become LPRs the subsequent death of the principal would have no impact on the status of the derivatives - at that point their status is unconditional.

I entered the lottery and I can "feel" that I will win...

This is a lottery - with fairly low chance of being selected - please read about that here!

Child over 21

If you child turns 21 during the DV lottery process you might still be able to include them on your case - please read about that in this article.

Easy guide to the DV lottery

Please take a few minutes to learn about the flow of the DV lottery process.

Name confusion

I would like to "try" to clarify the confusion that comes from name formats during this process. I cannot address the variances of every country, but I will explain things from a "Western" perspective along with some variations I am clear about.

Let us consider the name of our president - Barack Hussein Obama.

For official forms they often ask for the following names - firstname, middlename, lastname.

The "Firstname" is the name he would be known by to his friends and family. It is Barack.  It might sometimes be referred to as a given name or Christian name. A given name is one that is given to a child by the parents - meaning it is a name they choose.

The "Middlename" for our president is Hussein. It is also a "given" name in that the parents chose it.

The "Lastname" for our president is Obama. This name is sometimes referred to as a surname or family name. The name, in most Western countries, comes from the family (typically from the fathers side), and is not "chosen", So - in the case of Barack Obama, his father's family name was Obama.

Some DV documents will list the names in a kind of "reversed" order (Lasname, Firstname Middlename). This is very common in a lot of systems. So - it would not be a surprise to see our president listed as "Obama, Barack Hussein".

 

Additional names

Now some people have some extra names. Barack Obama might have been given an extra middle name. That might have resulted in his name being something like Barack Hussein John Obama. In that case he would have written two middle names.

Another variation is where people keep their "maiden" family name after marriage. A "maiden" name is the name someone had from birth and is often changed by marriage where the woman (again, typically, in Western countries) takes the name from her husband.  However, in some cases a woman might decide to keep her maiden name OR to keep the maiden name AND add the husband's name. Hilary Clinton did exactly that. She was born "Hillary Diane Rodham". When she married Bill Clinton she kept her family name so she actually has a full name of "Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton". If she were to fill in a DV form she would probably have two names "Rodham Clinton" like this:-

Firstname: Hilary

MiddleName: Diane

Lastname: Rodham Clinton

That would typically mean some DV correspondence would show her name as "Rodham Clinton, Hilary Diane"

 

However, she "might" decide to write the second family name in the middlename section So she would write like this:

Firstname: Hilary

MiddleName: Diane Rodham

Lastname: Clinton

In that case she would see "Clinton, Hilary Diane Rodham" on some DV letters.

 

Spanish/Latin America variations.

In Spain, and some countries in Latin America people have a double last name convention. So, the singer Julio Iglesias has a full name of "Julio José Iglesias de la Cueva". In his case Iglesias is from his father and "de la Cueva" is from his mothers side. His data would be entered like this:

 

Firstname: Julio

MiddleName: José

Lastname: Iglesias de la Cueva

 

 

Do I need to show savings?

Sometimes yes. Please read this guide about public charge.

Getting married during the lottery process

Check out this guide on getting married during the DV process.

Entering the lottery - what is my marital status?

If you are completing your lottery entry and are not sure about how to describe your marital status - please read this.

Checking the ESC page - how to check without mistakes

OK - many people enter their confirmation details in the ESC page and the system tells them that there is a problem in the data they are entering. For DV2018 - for a while that was a system glitch. However, the system glitch is now fixed and some people are still having a problem - so that probably means they are doing something wrong.

Every year I get many people telling me they have a problem. They SWEAR they are following the instructions correctly - so they send me their details. In every single case (except with the 2018 glitch), my attempt with their data works first time. Every. Single. Time.  That is after they have tried and I have told them what to do. So - this is a self inflicted error.

So - let me explain. The confirmation will have fields as shown below:

 

Entrant Name:

LOPEZ SMITH, ALEXANDER FRANK

Confirmation Number:

201831UD5N83FMN5

Year of Birth:

1991

Digital Signature:

C822F1F41B06722E67227050B9638ED4AAA02AXX

Hopefully you have that saved as data and not a jpg. Data is easier because you won't make a mistake Taking a "1" and confusing with "I, or "0" and "O" and so on.

 

  1. If you have the data you can copy the Confirmation code/number and open the ESC page. Enter that code and make sure there are no extra spaces after the code.
  2. Then enter your last name. The lastname is what appears *** BEFORE*** the comma. So, in the example above that is LOPEZ SMITH (some countries have two last names, some will have one).
  3. Then enter just the year of birth
  4. Enter the CAPTCHA code

Do that, and you should have no problem.

 

Interview Go To Top

Child over 21

If you child turns 21 during the DV lottery process you might still be able to include them on your case - please read about that in this article.

How to change interview location

Not yet scheduled for interview

Interview location is normally based on your current address. If you are not yet current, the process to change your interview location is a 2 step process.

  1. You unlock the DS260 to change your current address to the new address (new country) and resubmit the form.
  2. Email KCC and ask them to change the interview location.

Changing early enough will not delay your case. If you leave this too late KCC may not be able to do this.

 

Already scheduled

If you are already scheduled for an interview, the process to change is more complicated, and you should ONLY do it if it cannot be done any other way. Ideally you need to check with the new embassy whether they will schedule your case. They might not accept it or they might accept it but much later than your original interview. If you still want to change, you contact the original embassy and ask them to transfer your case to the new embassy.

During the transfer your case status on CEAC will show "Transfer". The transfer can take time and if something goes wrong between the two embassies you can get significantly delayed.

As I mention - ONLY do this if you have no choice.

What is Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status?

There is a difference in how you process depending on whether you are in the USA or abroad, please read about the differences between the two methods here.

DV winner - do I need a lawyer?

Do you need a lawyer to process your DV win - usually not - read more here.

What questions will be asked in the interview?

Please read this link about questions.

How to check your case status on CEAC

CEAC is the system that shows basic case information for all DV cases.

You can access the system at this link.

To check your number you enter your case number without the "leading" zeros.

So - if your number is 2017AF000012305, you enter 2017AF12305 (removing the leading zeros that I show in bold).

CEAC data is not available for the first few months of each year - it generally becomes available around the beginning of January in the processing year. So - for instance, DV2016 starting processing on October 1, 2015 but the CEAC data wasn't available until January 1, 2016.

 

So what do the status codes mean.

The first status for every case is “AT NVC”. You can ignore the text on the case – the case has not been passed to NVC.  What this status means is that the case is in one of the following situations.

  1. The case is not yet current.
  2. The case is current, BUT the DS260 has not be submitted at all, or it was submitted but not processed yet – and therefore not scheduled.
  3. The case is current, the form is processed, but it is waiting to be scheduled (typically because the cases have not yet been sent to the embassies yet).

PLEASE IGNORE the NVC information that appears - it is a standard message and DOES NOT APPLY to DV cases

 

“In Transit”

This status is shown for a brief period when KCC has scheduled the interview, and transferred the case to the embassy. However, the embassy has not yet updated CEAC to acknowledge they have received the case.

“READY”

This is the next status after in transit. It means the case has arrived at the embassy for interview. Sometimes a case will continue to show ready even after the interview.

“Issued”

Pretty obviously – this is the status we all want to see! The interview took place, was successful and the visa has been approved/issued.

“Refused”

This is the status no one wants to see, meaning the interview took place and the selectee was denied. A derivative can be refused, while the principal is approved. However, if the principal is refused – all the derivatives are refused also – even if the embassy fails to update CEAC.

“Administrative Processing”

This is when someone did not have all the documents at the interview OR some additional checks are needed before the case can be adjudicated. AP can last a few days or several months. The status updates during that time are meaningless.

Derivative number.

For cases that are scheduled we can see the related derivative numbers. Case 01 is the principal and derivatives are case 02, 03 and so on.

Thanks to a smart guy called Rafikbo, I am able to extract all the CEAC data. I will shortly publish that data and will update that about twice a month. The data lets us understand the progress, predict cutoffs and interviews and so on. So – this is a valuable resource that we can all use to understand the process better. Hopefully this post will help you to understand…

 

 

Will assets like property and jewelry be counted at the interview

Assets are considered "liquid", "non-liquid" and perhaps "semi liquid".

Liquid assets are things like cash in the bank. Assets that you can immediately access with no delay. This is the most important type of asset to show for avoiding public charge grounds.

Non-liquid assets are things that you own that may be hard to "liquidate" - meaning it is hard/time consuming to make the cash available. This type of asset is not as useful to show during the immigration process, because of the time it takes to release the asset. The COs don't want to have to look at valuations, mortgage papers, and so on to take these assets into account. There is also a guideline that vastly reduces the value of these assets that can be taken into account to 20% of the net value of the asset - so we can see that in general it is not worth showing these assets in any detail. By all means, you can mention the house you own, and even have valuations prepared, but it may not be of interest to the CO.

Semi liquid assets are things like cars, jewelry and so on. Things that could be sold more easily than a house, but not as easy to access as a liquid asset. Again, these aren't too useful during the immigration interview. The issue with these assets is that the values depreciate and are very subjective until you actually sell them. So - you buy a piece of gold jewelry for $5000 - and the value is probably far less than that - basically the value of the gold by weight. Same with cars - the CO won't want to step outside the embassy to check out your car in the parking lot to understand its value. So - if you are seriously planning to liquidate these assets to fund your move, you may want to consider doing some of that BEFORE the interview - so that you can show the value in savings.

What does the 2NL look like

The 2NL (2nd notification letter) is actually a two part notification. It is important because it is the notification of the interview appointment. The 1NL is the letter that said "you have been selected". The 2NLs are sent out about one to two weeks after the visa bulletin release. The VB is typically released in the first half of each month (between the 8th and 15th of each month) and the 2NLs are sent in the 2nd half of the month.

 

So - when KCC sends the 2NLs. First KCC sends out an email, and that email directs you to check the Entrant Status Check site.

 

So the email looks like this:-

 

11947460_897240983645384_3664801239231079278_n

Notes that it is from "noreply@state.gov".

You can also see that it directs you to check the ESC - www.dvlottery.state.gov/ESC

Once you login to that site you will see a letter with appointment details - this is the actual 2NL - and it looks like this:-

 

2NL

Since the email has no information, you don't actually need it. When you hear that 2NLs are going out (and you expect you will be scheduled) you can check the ESC page and get your interview details. If you don't have the 2NL details in the ESC, then you should simply check the next month.

 

 

How do I unlock my DS260

To unlock your case, you must send an email to KCC – Their email address is KCCDV@state.gov

You need to include your full name, Full case number (like 2015AF00031999) and your date of birth in Month/Day/Year format (MM/DD/YYYY)

You do not need to provide a reason to unlock. So you email can have the following format.

 

Email subject: Unlock request

 

Email Body:

Name: Firstname Middlename lastname

Case Number: 2015AF00031999

Date of Birth: 10/23/1981

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

Please unlock my DS260 form as I would like to make some revisions.

Thank you.

 

If you are unlocking the case of a derivative, you need to include the details shown above for the principal selectee, AND then make clear which derivative form you need to be unlocked.

Note that it can take as little as a few hours to get your form unlocked, but in busier times it can take up to 2 weeks. Once the form is unlocked, KCC email you.

KCC will not unlock your form once your case has been scheduled, and there is a period of time just before your 2NL is sent when your case cannot be unlocked because it is already scheduled in their system even though it has not gone to the embassy yet. That period of time is just after the VB has been released up until the 2NL goes out.

What are the diseases that can cause denial

The medical is not so much a medical to ascertain the fitness or suitability of the immigrant to live in the USA, it is mainly a screening for diseases that the USA does not want to expose its residents to from the immigrant population. These are "communicable diseases of public health significance" as defined by the CDC.

 

The list of diseases currently (October 2016) is:-

  1. Tuberculosis
  2. Syphilis
  3. Gonorrhea
  4. Hansen's Disease (Leprosy)

This list might be updated from time to time and can be found here:

http://www.cdc.gov/immigrantrefugeehealth/exams/diseases-vaccines-included.html

 

In addition, the physician is responsible for checking the vaccinations of the immigrant to meet the list of vaccine preventable diseases - also linked above. This latter list will not cause denial however, as long as someone is vaccinated.

DV process versus Family Based immigration

Many times I get asked about the process to sponsor a spouse after the DV lottery win. People sometimes tell me they want to apply for the DV visa without their spouse and will sponsor their spouse to go to the USA later when they have settled. That is almost always a  bad idea – and I warn people that it will take a lot longer and be more expensive than the simple DV process.

So – let me explain that to make this a bit more clear.

The DV lottery process is the easiest, cheapest way to get a Green Card – there is no USA immigration process that is anywhere near as easy. For DV you fill in your DS260, have an interview, pay some small fees and you are given a Green Card. You don’t have a formal sponsor, and if you do require a financial sponsor the form they fill out is the I-134 – that carries NO obligation for the sponsor.

Anyone who has been interviewed for DV should know this - and I cannot stress enough – the DV process is EXTREMELY EASY when compared to other immigration processing.

 

If however someone chooses to go through family based immigration the process is a lot harder.

  • The forms are more complicated and people often need help from a lawyer.
  • The fees are typically higher (depends on the process – but it is not cheaper than DV).
  • The case requires a financial undertaking (form I-864) which creates a legal obligation on the sponsor. Typically the petitioner would be that sponsor for the spouse, but that means the petitioner (you) have to be working in the USA with an income to meet their tests. That means it might be a while before you can submit the paperwork.
  • Once you submit the paperwork you have to wait. To sponsor a spouse, the current waiting time is almost 2 years. During that time you will most likely be apart.

 

So – it is possible for a DV lottery winner to process their own case and later sponsor their spouse through Family based immigration. However, that is making a simple process into a complicated one. Why would you do that????

 

Do I need to show savings?

Sometimes yes. Please read this guide about public charge.

What is "public charge"?

Please read this guide about public charge.

Translation requirement

Most documents presented at the embassy during interview should be in English OR the official local language where the embassy is located. So - if you are interviewing in Paris, you could present documents in French or English (although English is more useful once you are in the USA).

 

A translation should be done by someone competent and fluent. It does not have to be a professional translator. It should not be a family member. The translator should add a statement such as:-

 

 

I [typed name], certify that I am fluent (conversant) in the English and [enter appropriate language] languages, and that the above/attached document is an accurate translation of the document attached entitled [enter title of document].
Signature
Typed Name
Address
Date

How to prepare for the interview

How to prepare for the interview.

Why is my newly added spouse or child missing from the 2NL?

When 2NLs go out, I am being asked why some derivatives are not on the 2NL.

 

The 2NL is normally based on the family members that were on the eDV. So, if you had a child since the entry or got married that new derivative may be missing from the DS260 even though you added the derivative on the DS260.

Similarly, if someone has decided that a derivative will not be applying for the Green Card they may be surprised to see the derivative listed on the 2NL.

In both cases that is not a problem. RELAX!

However, new derivatives do need to have their documents and medicals. Sometimes a physician will not want to perform the medical on someone without the 2NL. In that case you can print the DS260 conformation form for each of the beneficiaries and show that to the physician in order to arrange the medical.

That will normally do the trick although some offices of IOM (medical service in some countries) think they know better and will remain difficult. With them, just remain firm - and explain that THEY DO NOT SET THE RULES! Some selectees have taken the bad advice from IOM and caused delay to their cases by arriving at the interview without medicals.

 

 

My interview went well, but now CEAC shows AP - what is happening?

Many people experience this. The interview goes well, the CO says you are approved and then within a day or two the CEAC system shows the status has been updated to AP (Administrative Processing). So - that means one of two things is happening.

The usual thing is that the CEAC is updated to AP during the finalization of the processing. That typically lasts one or two days (work days, not counting weekends), and then the status is updated to "Issued". For the majority of cases this is what happens, it is nothing to worry about. Some people never even notice the brief period in AP, and some people just see the status stay on ready for days after the interview, then it is updated to Issued OR the passport is delivered. None of that is a problem!

The second case is where a case is "approved" in the interview and then the case needs some time in "real" AP. This can happen when the supervisors at the embassy review the cases approved by the CO and decide a case needs some checks. That type of AP can last days, weeks, even months - and is obviously very worrying for the selectee. So - if you case stays in AP after a successful interview for several days (let's say a week), then the second type of AP has started. There is NOTHING you can do about that - you just have to wait.

 

 

How to add a baby to the DV case

No need to panic - this is explained fully in this article.

Are some embassies more lenient than others?

Are some embassies more lenient (easier) than others - YES. I analyzed the data and produced this league table.

About affidavit of support & I-134

Please read this guide about public charge.

I-134 or I-864

Please read this article.

Follow to Join

Please read this post about Follow to Join

What will the interview be like

You can read some previous interview experience stories by clicking this link.

I made XXX mistake in my original entry - will I be disqualified?

I am asked this several times a day - so let me try and explain the issue, and how serious it is - and how to give yourself the best chance.

 

Ok - so let's say you made a mistake on the original entry. This often happens when you have foolishly had someone else complete this very simple entry form for you (called the eDV). You are responsible for what was entered there, so it is better that you did it yourself, but still, mistakes happen.

 

So what sort of mistakes could be made?

Some mistakes are amazingly common.

  • Date of birth errors (sometimes caused by date conversion mistakes, sometimes agents, other times I have no idea why!)
  • Name spelling errors. (example Muhammad versus Muhamed)
  • Names that differ in some way from documents such as education certificates.

So - is this a problem. Well, at most embassies, a single small mistake will be forgiven. By simple I mean things like a day (or year Or month)  difference in the date of birth , a simple mistake in a name (an obvious typing mistake).  However, if you have the day, month and year of the date of birth wrong, that is more serious. Likewise, missing whole names (like a middle name) is more serious. However, even these more serious mistakes can be overlooked in some cases. However, some cases have a combination of errors, wrong name, wrong date of birth and so on. It should not be a surprise that an error of this type is much more serious and could be quite likely to cause denial. This is because the simple little mistakes combined give an impression that there was some attempt to hide the true identity of the winner - perhaps masking multiple entries.

So - we could characterize the risks in this way.

  1. Simple, small mistake (single letter mistake for example) on one thing (name OR date of birth) - LOW risk
  2. Bigger mistake such as a missed or different name) on one thing - MEDIUM risk
  3. Several mistakes on one entry - HIGH risk.

Now, I should say that some low risk cases have been denied, and some high risk cases have been approved. You cannot be certain how the CO will react in any given case. it partly depends on the credibility of the selectee, and the other aspects of the case (whether other documents are all in order and so on).

Other factors that increase the risk include having the interview at one of the embassies where many fraudulent cases are presented. Ghana is the most obvious example of that - and West Africa in general seems to suffer more than their fair share of "innocent mistakes". As a reaction to that, the embassies are strict and will often find a reason to disqualify an entry where their suspicions are raised. So - if you have a simple mistake, but you are interviewing in Ghana or a similar embassy, you are likely to be refused.

What can you do about the mistakes?

OK so you have realized you have mistake(s) on your eDV - what do you do? Well, you can't change what is on the eDV. You can't even request to see the form if you didn't keep a screenshot. If you were trying to cheat in some way, you may as well give up now.

However, to ensure that background checks are  completed accurately the most important thing is to be accurate on the DS260. The name  should match your legal name. That should match your passport and your birth cert, unless you have proof of a name change like marriage. If your date of birth is the problem, it should match the date of birth on the birth certificate. That is the best you can do. That way, the CO will see that you made a mistake, but he/she will know that KCC carried out background checks on the correct data.

If you have educational documents that do not match your name/DOB in some way, you should think how you can prove the educational certificates are yours. Gather whatever proof you can of school attendance to reassure the CO that the certificates you are presenting are your certificates.

Life in the USA Go To Top

Important financial pointers to avoid problems

If you are on a low income - please read this.

What is "Obamacare" Health Insurance.

This article explains about health insurance in the USA.

Building credit history

Everyone needs to build credit history in the USA - it is very important even if you don't want to borrow money. Read this article for some tips.

Health insurance for new immigrants

Useful article here.

Getting USA drivers license

Please read this article.

Your foreign degree in the USA

This article explains how your degree earned abroad will be viewed in the USA.

Choosing where to live & cost of living in the USA

Please read this article that explains about living in the USA for DV lottery winners.

Where can I find EVEN more DV information and useful links!

Here you go - useful links.

Can I sponsor family members once I have my Green Card?

Read about sponsoring family.

Rights and obligations of a Green Card holder

Please learn about your rights and obligations once you become an LPR.

Finding work in the USA

How can I prove my status for air travel before I receive the Green Card

If you did consular processing abroad, the embassy will have pasted a visa into your passport. This is a "one time use" visa - when you use it by entering the USA you become a "Lawful Permanent Resident" (LPR). This is called "activating your status.  If you have paid the Green Card fee as instructed by the embassy, your plastic Green Card usually is sent to you about 2 to 3 months after initial entry. However, if you have to travel out of the country before you have the plastic card, you can use your one time use visa again. Upon activation it will have been "endorsed" and can be used for travel for up to 1 year after the initial entry.

So, if you have already activated, you are an LPR. However, airlines don't always understand the rules. In that case you might want to print out this guide which describes the documents in detail. Have the guide with you at the airport. Page 40 of this guide has information about the endorsed visa.

 

I hope that helps.

 

 

 

 

DV lottery info Go To Top

Child over 21

If you child turns 21 during the DV lottery process you might still be able to include them on your case - please read about that in this article.

Why does the USA run the DV lottery

Please read this article to understand why the DV lottery exists.

Getting married during the lottery process

Check out this guide on getting married during the DV process.

Do I need to show savings?

Sometimes yes. Please read this guide about public charge.

How do I avoid DV lottery scams?

Please be careful - not everyone out there is as helpful as I am - some want to steal your money!

Where can I find EVEN more DV information and useful links!

Here you go - useful links.

What were the visa bulletin numbers in previous year?

Here you go - historical visa bulletin numbers!

 

Please just remember that every year is different. The density of the entries is different, the response rate is different, the quotas are different. So - whilst previous years are interesting it is nonsensical to make assumptions based on numbers from several years ago.

Correcting mistakes Go To Top

How do I unlock my DS260

To unlock your case, you must send an email to KCC – Their email address is KCCDV@state.gov

You need to include your full name, Full case number (like 2015AF00031999) and your date of birth in Month/Day/Year format (MM/DD/YYYY)

You do not need to provide a reason to unlock. So you email can have the following format.

 

Email subject: Unlock request

 

Email Body:

Name: Firstname Middlename lastname

Case Number: 2015AF00031999

Date of Birth: 10/23/1981

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

Please unlock my DS260 form as I would like to make some revisions.

Thank you.

 

If you are unlocking the case of a derivative, you need to include the details shown above for the principal selectee, AND then make clear which derivative form you need to be unlocked.

Note that it can take as little as a few hours to get your form unlocked, but in busier times it can take up to 2 weeks. Once the form is unlocked, KCC email you.

KCC will not unlock your form once your case has been scheduled, and there is a period of time just before your 2NL is sent when your case cannot be unlocked because it is already scheduled in their system even though it has not gone to the embassy yet. That period of time is just after the VB has been released up until the 2NL goes out.

Can a derivative continue after death of the principal selectee

This is a horrible scenario of course, but let us imagine the principal winner has died and the derivatives want to continue the process. Can they do that?

We for DV cases, no.

The 9 FAM note says this:-
9 FAM 42.33 N5.2-2 In Death of Principal Beneficiary and/or Applicant
(CT:VISA-1768; 10-31-2011)
The death of the principal beneficiary and/or applicant must result in the automatic revocation of the application. Thereafter, derivative beneficiaries are no longer entitled to the DV classification.

So - prior to the interview, the case would simply be unable to be approved.

Death of the principal after interview (but before entry to the USA) the case would also be affected. Each derivative would be in a classification (such as DV2 or DV3), and the POE procedure demands that the principal (DV1) apply for entry to the USA either with or before the derivatives. So - the derivatives cannot use their one time use visas without the principal.

Once the principal and derivatives have entered the USA and have become LPRs the subsequent death of the principal would have no impact on the status of the derivatives - at that point their status is unconditional.

How to change interview location

Not yet scheduled for interview

Interview location is normally based on your current address. If you are not yet current, the process to change your interview location is a 2 step process.

  1. You unlock the DS260 to change your current address to the new address (new country) and resubmit the form.
  2. Email KCC and ask them to change the interview location.

Changing early enough will not delay your case. If you leave this too late KCC may not be able to do this.

 

Already scheduled

If you are already scheduled for an interview, the process to change is more complicated, and you should ONLY do it if it cannot be done any other way. Ideally you need to check with the new embassy whether they will schedule your case. They might not accept it or they might accept it but much later than your original interview. If you still want to change, you contact the original embassy and ask them to transfer your case to the new embassy.

During the transfer your case status on CEAC will show "Transfer". The transfer can take time and if something goes wrong between the two embassies you can get significantly delayed.

As I mention - ONLY do this if you have no choice.

I made XXX mistake in my original entry - will I be disqualified?

I am asked this several times a day - so let me try and explain the issue, and how serious it is - and how to give yourself the best chance.

 

Ok - so let's say you made a mistake on the original entry. This often happens when you have foolishly had someone else complete this very simple entry form for you (called the eDV). You are responsible for what was entered there, so it is better that you did it yourself, but still, mistakes happen.

 

So what sort of mistakes could be made?

Some mistakes are amazingly common.

  • Date of birth errors (sometimes caused by date conversion mistakes, sometimes agents, other times I have no idea why!)
  • Name spelling errors. (example Muhammad versus Muhamed)
  • Names that differ in some way from documents such as education certificates.

So - is this a problem. Well, at most embassies, a single small mistake will be forgiven. By simple I mean things like a day (or year Or month)  difference in the date of birth , a simple mistake in a name (an obvious typing mistake).  However, if you have the day, month and year of the date of birth wrong, that is more serious. Likewise, missing whole names (like a middle name) is more serious. However, even these more serious mistakes can be overlooked in some cases. However, some cases have a combination of errors, wrong name, wrong date of birth and so on. It should not be a surprise that an error of this type is much more serious and could be quite likely to cause denial. This is because the simple little mistakes combined give an impression that there was some attempt to hide the true identity of the winner - perhaps masking multiple entries.

So - we could characterize the risks in this way.

  1. Simple, small mistake (single letter mistake for example) on one thing (name OR date of birth) - LOW risk
  2. Bigger mistake such as a missed or different name) on one thing - MEDIUM risk
  3. Several mistakes on one entry - HIGH risk.

Now, I should say that some low risk cases have been denied, and some high risk cases have been approved. You cannot be certain how the CO will react in any given case. it partly depends on the credibility of the selectee, and the other aspects of the case (whether other documents are all in order and so on).

Other factors that increase the risk include having the interview at one of the embassies where many fraudulent cases are presented. Ghana is the most obvious example of that - and West Africa in general seems to suffer more than their fair share of "innocent mistakes". As a reaction to that, the embassies are strict and will often find a reason to disqualify an entry where their suspicions are raised. So - if you have a simple mistake, but you are interviewing in Ghana or a similar embassy, you are likely to be refused.

What can you do about the mistakes?

OK so you have realized you have mistake(s) on your eDV - what do you do? Well, you can't change what is on the eDV. You can't even request to see the form if you didn't keep a screenshot. If you were trying to cheat in some way, you may as well give up now.

However, to ensure that background checks are  completed accurately the most important thing is to be accurate on the DS260. The name  should match your legal name. That should match your passport and your birth cert, unless you have proof of a name change like marriage. If your date of birth is the problem, it should match the date of birth on the birth certificate. That is the best you can do. That way, the CO will see that you made a mistake, but he/she will know that KCC carried out background checks on the correct data.

If you have educational documents that do not match your name/DOB in some way, you should think how you can prove the educational certificates are yours. Gather whatever proof you can of school attendance to reassure the CO that the certificates you are presenting are your certificates.

Name confusion

I would like to "try" to clarify the confusion that comes from name formats during this process. I cannot address the variances of every country, but I will explain things from a "Western" perspective along with some variations I am clear about.

Let us consider the name of our president - Barack Hussein Obama.

For official forms they often ask for the following names - firstname, middlename, lastname.

The "Firstname" is the name he would be known by to his friends and family. It is Barack.  It might sometimes be referred to as a given name or Christian name. A given name is one that is given to a child by the parents - meaning it is a name they choose.

The "Middlename" for our president is Hussein. It is also a "given" name in that the parents chose it.

The "Lastname" for our president is Obama. This name is sometimes referred to as a surname or family name. The name, in most Western countries, comes from the family (typically from the fathers side), and is not "chosen", So - in the case of Barack Obama, his father's family name was Obama.

Some DV documents will list the names in a kind of "reversed" order (Lasname, Firstname Middlename). This is very common in a lot of systems. So - it would not be a surprise to see our president listed as "Obama, Barack Hussein".

 

Additional names

Now some people have some extra names. Barack Obama might have been given an extra middle name. That might have resulted in his name being something like Barack Hussein John Obama. In that case he would have written two middle names.

Another variation is where people keep their "maiden" family name after marriage. A "maiden" name is the name someone had from birth and is often changed by marriage where the woman (again, typically, in Western countries) takes the name from her husband.  However, in some cases a woman might decide to keep her maiden name OR to keep the maiden name AND add the husband's name. Hilary Clinton did exactly that. She was born "Hillary Diane Rodham". When she married Bill Clinton she kept her family name so she actually has a full name of "Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton". If she were to fill in a DV form she would probably have two names "Rodham Clinton" like this:-

Firstname: Hilary

MiddleName: Diane

Lastname: Rodham Clinton

That would typically mean some DV correspondence would show her name as "Rodham Clinton, Hilary Diane"

 

However, she "might" decide to write the second family name in the middlename section So she would write like this:

Firstname: Hilary

MiddleName: Diane Rodham

Lastname: Clinton

In that case she would see "Clinton, Hilary Diane Rodham" on some DV letters.

 

Spanish/Latin America variations.

In Spain, and some countries in Latin America people have a double last name convention. So, the singer Julio Iglesias has a full name of "Julio José Iglesias de la Cueva". In his case Iglesias is from his father and "de la Cueva" is from his mothers side. His data would be entered like this:

 

Firstname: Julio

MiddleName: José

Lastname: Iglesias de la Cueva

 

 

Adjustment of Status Go To Top

Prepare for Infopass

An Infopass appointment is useful in Adjustment of Status (AoS) cases to get an idea of how your case is going. Often, a well time and well prepared infopass appointment can get a case moving. Below I have pasted some notes I wrote in order to explain how to prepare for an Infopass.  An infopass is ONLY for AoS cases - those being processed in the USA. I hope it helps.

 

You need to prepare for the Infopass, because otherwise they fob you off and tell you to wait (because most people have to wait a lot longer than we do, so the IOs are very used to telling people to wait). Try and have a mental or written note of things to ask - I think of it like a checklist. These are the things that you need to have completed (Mom please add if there is anything missed).

  1. I-485 submitted and sent to the FO (obviously done otherwise you wouldn't be there, but just so you have a list).
  2. Biometric completed?
  3. Background/Name check completed?
  4. Receipts for the DV fee and the AoS fee (you should have those - but point them out).
  5. Have the FO requested the file from KCC? Have they received it? (check whether KCC say it's been requested or sent).


So, when you are at the infopass, thinking calm thoughts, don't get rushed and explain to the IO on the desk that you would like to check to see if everything is ready for the interview. Get them to agree and get them on your side. Then go through the list and ask them to confirm things (2, 3, and 5 are what you are asking them about). Once you confirm that all those things are ready, you are ready for the interview. If all that is ready, then POLITELY ask "OK, so what are we waiting for to schedule the interview?". 

If I were you I would also have the policy memo (link below) that counters the argument that DV cases are not subject to special processing. They are, and the memo (which is binding on the staff you will be talking to) confirms that. However, do not be aggressive or argumentative, instead talk about your fear that DV slots will run out as they did the last two years.

https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default...013/August/DV-Related I-485 Applications .pdf

After the interview Go To Top

Timeline of first entry and absences from USA

This post will explain the timeline for people that have received their visa approval and want to know when they have to move to the USA and when they can leave (and for how long).

The DV lottery is for people who want permanent residence. A Green Card shows that someone is an LPR (Lawful Permanent Resident) and that comes with rights and responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is you are expected to live in the USA.  The Green Card is not for someone who simply wants a super visa to visit the USA every few months.

 

So - if you are approved for the visa (either at the interview or shortly after), you will give the embassy your passports. Each family member will have a visa on a page in the passport. This is intended to be a one time use visa (although has a longer use too, which I will shortly explain).  This visa must be used before the expiry date on the visa. The date is normally 6 months after the medical - so it is important to not do the medical too soon.

With the visa, you can fly to the USA to activate your LPR status. At the POE the paperwork from the embassy will be processed and your one time use visa will be endorsed (stamped). Once endorsed, the one time use visa is valid for travel for up to 12 months after entry. So - it is possible to enter the USA and leave immediately if you want.

Now, for the first absence after initial entry it is quite common to return to the home country for a period of time to tie up loose ends. That period can be up to 12 months without a problem.

Normally absences should be under 6 months, but the first absence is treated as an exception. After that point absences of up to 6 months will be treated as normal, and absences between 6 and 12 months are possible but you can expect questioning at the POE for those longer absences. If the immigration officer has reason to suspect that you are not residing in the USA (for instance, have not kept a home address etc) then they may decide to refer you to an immigration judge to decide whether to revoke your Green Card.

If you need to have an absence of longer than 12 months, you can apply for a reentry permit. This gives you up to 2 years of absence and eases the return to the USA./ However, the permit application must be submitted in the USA and you have to be in the USA for a few weeks because they will schedule a biometric appointment. Once that appointment is done you could leave the USA, but the approval may come later. The approval is not automatic, it could be refused.

 

OK - I hope that helps! You can also read this earlier article on the same topic.

What is the meaning of the classification DV, DV2 and so on

DV1 Diversity principal, new arrival.

DV2 Spouse of DV1 or DV6, new arrival.

DV3 Child of DV1 or DV6, new arrival.

DV6 Diversity principal, adjustment.

DV7 Spouse of DV1 or DV6, adjustment.

DV8 Child of DV1 or DV6, adjustment.

How to check your case status on CEAC

CEAC is the system that shows basic case information for all DV cases.

You can access the system at this link.

To check your number you enter your case number without the "leading" zeros.

So - if your number is 2017AF000012305, you enter 2017AF12305 (removing the leading zeros that I show in bold).

CEAC data is not available for the first few months of each year - it generally becomes available around the beginning of January in the processing year. So - for instance, DV2016 starting processing on October 1, 2015 but the CEAC data wasn't available until January 1, 2016.

 

So what do the status codes mean.

The first status for every case is “AT NVC”. You can ignore the text on the case – the case has not been passed to NVC.  What this status means is that the case is in one of the following situations.

  1. The case is not yet current.
  2. The case is current, BUT the DS260 has not be submitted at all, or it was submitted but not processed yet – and therefore not scheduled.
  3. The case is current, the form is processed, but it is waiting to be scheduled (typically because the cases have not yet been sent to the embassies yet).

PLEASE IGNORE the NVC information that appears - it is a standard message and DOES NOT APPLY to DV cases

 

“In Transit”

This status is shown for a brief period when KCC has scheduled the interview, and transferred the case to the embassy. However, the embassy has not yet updated CEAC to acknowledge they have received the case.

“READY”

This is the next status after in transit. It means the case has arrived at the embassy for interview. Sometimes a case will continue to show ready even after the interview.

“Issued”

Pretty obviously – this is the status we all want to see! The interview took place, was successful and the visa has been approved/issued.

“Refused”

This is the status no one wants to see, meaning the interview took place and the selectee was denied. A derivative can be refused, while the principal is approved. However, if the principal is refused – all the derivatives are refused also – even if the embassy fails to update CEAC.

“Administrative Processing”

This is when someone did not have all the documents at the interview OR some additional checks are needed before the case can be adjudicated. AP can last a few days or several months. The status updates during that time are meaningless.

Derivative number.

For cases that are scheduled we can see the related derivative numbers. Case 01 is the principal and derivatives are case 02, 03 and so on.

Thanks to a smart guy called Rafikbo, I am able to extract all the CEAC data. I will shortly publish that data and will update that about twice a month. The data lets us understand the progress, predict cutoffs and interviews and so on. So – this is a valuable resource that we can all use to understand the process better. Hopefully this post will help you to understand…

 

 

Moving money to the USA

Read this about moving money to the USA.

How can I prove my status for air travel before I receive the Green Card

If you did consular processing abroad, the embassy will have pasted a visa into your passport. This is a "one time use" visa - when you use it by entering the USA you become a "Lawful Permanent Resident" (LPR). This is called "activating your status.  If you have paid the Green Card fee as instructed by the embassy, your plastic Green Card usually is sent to you about 2 to 3 months after initial entry. However, if you have to travel out of the country before you have the plastic card, you can use your one time use visa again. Upon activation it will have been "endorsed" and can be used for travel for up to 1 year after the initial entry.

So, if you have already activated, you are an LPR. However, airlines don't always understand the rules. In that case you might want to print out this guide which describes the documents in detail. Have the guide with you at the airport. Page 40 of this guide has information about the endorsed visa.

 

I hope that helps.

 

 

 

 

Where can I find EVEN more DV information and useful links!

Here you go - useful links.

My interview went well, but now CEAC shows AP - what is happening?

Many people experience this. The interview goes well, the CO says you are approved and then within a day or two the CEAC system shows the status has been updated to AP (Administrative Processing). So - that means one of two things is happening.

The usual thing is that the CEAC is updated to AP during the finalization of the processing. That typically lasts one or two days (work days, not counting weekends), and then the status is updated to "Issued". For the majority of cases this is what happens, it is nothing to worry about. Some people never even notice the brief period in AP, and some people just see the status stay on ready for days after the interview, then it is updated to Issued OR the passport is delivered. None of that is a problem!

The second case is where a case is "approved" in the interview and then the case needs some time in "real" AP. This can happen when the supervisors at the embassy review the cases approved by the CO and decide a case needs some checks. That type of AP can last days, weeks, even months - and is obviously very worrying for the selectee. So - if you case stays in AP after a successful interview for several days (let's say a week), then the second type of AP has started. There is NOTHING you can do about that - you just have to wait.

 

 

CEAC Go To Top

How to check your case status on CEAC

CEAC is the system that shows basic case information for all DV cases.

You can access the system at this link.

To check your number you enter your case number without the "leading" zeros.

So - if your number is 2017AF000012305, you enter 2017AF12305 (removing the leading zeros that I show in bold).

CEAC data is not available for the first few months of each year - it generally becomes available around the beginning of January in the processing year. So - for instance, DV2016 starting processing on October 1, 2015 but the CEAC data wasn't available until January 1, 2016.

 

So what do the status codes mean.

The first status for every case is “AT NVC”. You can ignore the text on the case – the case has not been passed to NVC.  What this status means is that the case is in one of the following situations.

  1. The case is not yet current.
  2. The case is current, BUT the DS260 has not be submitted at all, or it was submitted but not processed yet – and therefore not scheduled.
  3. The case is current, the form is processed, but it is waiting to be scheduled (typically because the cases have not yet been sent to the embassies yet).

PLEASE IGNORE the NVC information that appears - it is a standard message and DOES NOT APPLY to DV cases

 

“In Transit”

This status is shown for a brief period when KCC has scheduled the interview, and transferred the case to the embassy. However, the embassy has not yet updated CEAC to acknowledge they have received the case.

“READY”

This is the next status after in transit. It means the case has arrived at the embassy for interview. Sometimes a case will continue to show ready even after the interview.

“Issued”

Pretty obviously – this is the status we all want to see! The interview took place, was successful and the visa has been approved/issued.

“Refused”

This is the status no one wants to see, meaning the interview took place and the selectee was denied. A derivative can be refused, while the principal is approved. However, if the principal is refused – all the derivatives are refused also – even if the embassy fails to update CEAC.

“Administrative Processing”

This is when someone did not have all the documents at the interview OR some additional checks are needed before the case can be adjudicated. AP can last a few days or several months. The status updates during that time are meaningless.

Derivative number.

For cases that are scheduled we can see the related derivative numbers. Case 01 is the principal and derivatives are case 02, 03 and so on.

Thanks to a smart guy called Rafikbo, I am able to extract all the CEAC data. I will shortly publish that data and will update that about twice a month. The data lets us understand the progress, predict cutoffs and interviews and so on. So – this is a valuable resource that we can all use to understand the process better. Hopefully this post will help you to understand…

 

 

Completing DS260 Go To Top

How do I unlock my DS260

To unlock your case, you must send an email to KCC – Their email address is KCCDV@state.gov

You need to include your full name, Full case number (like 2015AF00031999) and your date of birth in Month/Day/Year format (MM/DD/YYYY)

You do not need to provide a reason to unlock. So you email can have the following format.

 

Email subject: Unlock request

 

Email Body:

Name: Firstname Middlename lastname

Case Number: 2015AF00031999

Date of Birth: 10/23/1981

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

Please unlock my DS260 form as I would like to make some revisions.

Thank you.

 

If you are unlocking the case of a derivative, you need to include the details shown above for the principal selectee, AND then make clear which derivative form you need to be unlocked.

Note that it can take as little as a few hours to get your form unlocked, but in busier times it can take up to 2 weeks. Once the form is unlocked, KCC email you.

KCC will not unlock your form once your case has been scheduled, and there is a period of time just before your 2NL is sent when your case cannot be unlocked because it is already scheduled in their system even though it has not gone to the embassy yet. That period of time is just after the VB has been released up until the 2NL goes out.

How to answer "Are you a health care worker seeking to perform such work in the United States but have not yet received certification... "

Some healthcare workers may wonder how to answer this one.  Generally, if you ARE a healthcare worker (doctor, nurse and so on) and intend to continue that profession in the USA, your answer should be YES.

This scares people because those workers are well aware that practicing medicine without appropriate licenses is a serious issue. So, for clarity let me explain the rationale behind the answer.

The question should be read in two parts.


Part 1. "Are you a health care worker seeking to perform such work in the United States."
Well if that is true (that you are a healthcare worker and you intend to do that in the USA) then you answer to this part of the question is YES.

Part 2. "but have not yet received certification from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools or from an equivalent approved independent credentialing organization?"
Well unless you have already received such certification, then the answer to that part is NO.

So - the correct answer to the whole question (for a healthcare worker) is YES.

Now - why do some people think they should NO. Well, those people is answering the question they THINK was being asked which was will you practice healthcare/medicine without credentials (which would be illegal). Well of course you would NOT do that - but that is NOT the question being asked.

The question is asked in that way because the DS260 is used for other types of visas, including some that would rely more heavily on that question. For a DV process that question can safely be answered either way - BUT the better answer is yes because it is a more accurate reflection of the truth and reality - unless you do not plan to practice medicine in the USA.

Follow to Join

Please read this post about Follow to Join

How do I complete the DS260?

I created a guide to help you complete the DS260.

Name confusion

I would like to "try" to clarify the confusion that comes from name formats during this process. I cannot address the variances of every country, but I will explain things from a "Western" perspective along with some variations I am clear about.

Let us consider the name of our president - Barack Hussein Obama.

For official forms they often ask for the following names - firstname, middlename, lastname.

The "Firstname" is the name he would be known by to his friends and family. It is Barack.  It might sometimes be referred to as a given name or Christian name. A given name is one that is given to a child by the parents - meaning it is a name they choose.

The "Middlename" for our president is Hussein. It is also a "given" name in that the parents chose it.

The "Lastname" for our president is Obama. This name is sometimes referred to as a surname or family name. The name, in most Western countries, comes from the family (typically from the fathers side), and is not "chosen", So - in the case of Barack Obama, his father's family name was Obama.

Some DV documents will list the names in a kind of "reversed" order (Lasname, Firstname Middlename). This is very common in a lot of systems. So - it would not be a surprise to see our president listed as "Obama, Barack Hussein".

 

Additional names

Now some people have some extra names. Barack Obama might have been given an extra middle name. That might have resulted in his name being something like Barack Hussein John Obama. In that case he would have written two middle names.

Another variation is where people keep their "maiden" family name after marriage. A "maiden" name is the name someone had from birth and is often changed by marriage where the woman (again, typically, in Western countries) takes the name from her husband.  However, in some cases a woman might decide to keep her maiden name OR to keep the maiden name AND add the husband's name. Hilary Clinton did exactly that. She was born "Hillary Diane Rodham". When she married Bill Clinton she kept her family name so she actually has a full name of "Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton". If she were to fill in a DV form she would probably have two names "Rodham Clinton" like this:-

Firstname: Hilary

MiddleName: Diane

Lastname: Rodham Clinton

That would typically mean some DV correspondence would show her name as "Rodham Clinton, Hilary Diane"

 

However, she "might" decide to write the second family name in the middlename section So she would write like this:

Firstname: Hilary

MiddleName: Diane Rodham

Lastname: Clinton

In that case she would see "Clinton, Hilary Diane Rodham" on some DV letters.

 

Spanish/Latin America variations.

In Spain, and some countries in Latin America people have a double last name convention. So, the singer Julio Iglesias has a full name of "Julio José Iglesias de la Cueva". In his case Iglesias is from his father and "de la Cueva" is from his mothers side. His data would be entered like this:

 

Firstname: Julio

MiddleName: José

Lastname: Iglesias de la Cueva

 

 

DS260 CASE NUMBER DOESN’T MATCH WITH THE CASE NUMBER

Some people are experiencing a problem during submission of their DV lottery DS260. They get a message that says "CASE NUMBER DOESN’T MATCH WITH THE CASE NUMBER"

In that case the following fix has worked for some people.

 

Where you enter your case number, remove the leading zeros. So - where the case number is for example 2018AF000012345 , you would enter 2018AF12345. Try that - it should then work.

 

About this site Go To Top

About BritSimon - a brief biography

Some may want to know a little more about me – so here goes….

 

I am a 50 year old IT Software Engineer. Originally from the United Kingdom I now live in Livermore, California – a small city of 82,000 people just outside San Francisco.  The area is on the border of the “Silicon Valley” which is where many technology companies are based.

 

I am married and live with my wife and youngest daughter – currently aged 7. I have 3 other grown up children from a previous marriage and 4 grandkids so far!!! I moved to California early in 2014 on an H1-B visa and adjusted my status to a Green Card holder in September 2014 via the DV lottery. My wife (from Spain) was the winner – we won on our second year of entering. I have had many years of commuting back and forth between the UK and the USA – sometimes flying transatlantic 3 or 4 times a month (I did that constantly for one particularly tiring 5 year period). My brother is a US citizen having been one of the early DV lottery winners back in the early 90’s, so although I had options for Employment based and Family based immigration, the DV lottery win provided a fast way to feel that we could make the USA our permanent home.

 

My wife and I just bought a small building lot to build a house which we hope to start and complete within the next 12 months. I commute daily on a Ducati motorcycle, and when I am not at the keyboard at work or at DV lottery activities, I am mostly hanging out with my family…

Can I support your site or donate?

Thank you for thinking about showing your appreciation! I do have a page where you can leave a message of support and donate to "The Treehouse fund". If the site helps you, I would be grateful for your support.

How do I suggest a new FAQ

If you have a suggestion for a DV FAQ please click this link and add a comment on that page.

 

How to search BritSimonSays.com