A very common question that comes up about the DV lottery is about the requirement to prove you will not become a public charge (i.e. be in need of  financial assistance from the government). Many people have a hard time accepting that is even a requirement. Well it is. For sure. Everywhere, for everyone. Got that? OK – let me explain…

For DV lottery there is a set of rules that frequently refer to the Immigration and Nationality Act. Essentially the DV lottery is operated within a framework of immigration law and there are standard aspects of the laws that apply to all immigration cases. The public charge requirement is one such example. The instructions for the DV lottery include information about this in their FAQ (Question 37 in DV2015 and DV2016 instructions). The notes say:-

37. If I receive a visa through the DV program, will the U.S. government pay for my airfare to the United States, help me find housing and employment, and/or provide healthcare or any subsidies until I am fully settled?
No. The U.S. government will not provide any of these services to you if you receive a visa through the DV program. If you are selected to apply for a DV, you will need to demonstrate that you will not become a  public charge in the United States before being issued a visa. This evidence may be in the form of a combination of your personal assets, an Affidavit of Support (Form I-134) submitted by a relative or friend residing in the United States, an offer of employment from an employer in the United States, or other evidence.

OK, so it is required. OK???

So how do you prove that you will not become a public charge. The simplest way is to demonstrate that you have enough money/assets to support yourself. This can be in various ways, for example:-

  1. Bank/other financial statements
  2. Real Estate/Property
  3. Stocks/Bonds
  4. Income from business investments

The CO will be far more interested in “liquid” assets (such as savings in a bank account) than other non liquid assets.

If you intend to show the above you will need to show around $10,000 for each adult, and a bit less for children (for example $25,000 for a family of four, $10,000 for a single person). This can be from a combination of the above.

If you cannot show that level of personal finance a job offer can help, and of course someone already working in the USA on a temporary visa can show existing salary (payslips, tax records, job confirmation letters and so on).

If the selectee cannot provide the above, they may be advised obtaining an “affidavit of support” from a family member or friend already in the USA. The affidavit of support should be in the form of the I-134 which must be filled out by a US legal resident and supported by tax filing records, payslips and so on. The instructions for the I-134 are clear and helpful.

The selectee only needs to provide one I-134 to cover their case (it covers the principal and all derivatives). The income of the person filling out the I-134 should be greater than that shown on the Federal Poverty Guidelines for total number of family members for the sponsor/family AND the selectee/derivatives.

The original (or now scanned/emailed) signed I-134 plus supporting documents is presented by the selectee at the interview IF requested. Not all embassies request it as a matter of course, and some hardly ever request it. However, not providing it if requested can lead to AP/disqualification.

Supporting documents for the I-134 are the sponsors:

  1. 1040 (annual tax report – most recent copy)
  2. W2 (annual employee earnings statement if employed – most recent copy)
  3. Recent Payslips
  4. Photo ID

The I-134 should be sent to you prior to the interview by mail or scanned and the supporting documents can be photocopies or sent by email.

There are several African countries where the “host” system serves to satisfy the requirements. If the selectee is planning to stay with a host, they could be asked what is the relationship between host and selectee. If there is a good relationship (family, or close friend) the Consular Officer is allowed to use their discretion to take that as evidence that the selectee will not become a public charge.

If you are unsure about the difference between the I-134 and the I-864, then please check out this post for more information.

For more info including how to complete the I-134, please watch this video.


DV lottery rules

Public Charge Definitons