As the new registration period will shortly be open I wanted to address something that has potential to catch people out during the eDV entry. It is about chargeability.

Eligibility to participate in the DV lottery is based on country of birth. That does not mean your country of citizenship. It means where you were born. I have explained this more detail in a previous post here. For anyone about to enter they must understand this point. Entering the wrong country can get you disqualified.

So – you enter country of birth as your country of chargeability EXCEPT in the following examples.

  1. If you were born in an ineligible country but your spouse was born in an eligible country, you can charge to your spouse’s country of birth.
  2. If your parents were temporarily in your country of birth and neither of them was born there themselves, you may be able to charge to one of their birth countries.

Mistakes made about that can be serious. Typically a mistake in country of chargeability within one region could be overlooked at the interview BUT a mistake that crosses a region would cause disqualification. So choosing France, when really you were supposed to charge to Germany would be OK, but choosing France when you should have charged to South Africa would NOT be OK)

Now – in the last couple of weeks (September 11, 2015), USCIS have clarified a third type of exception. I call this “elective cross charging” – some may have heard me talking about this before since there was a lawyer who has suggested this method BUT the rulebook did not support his suggestion. Elective cross charging is where both you and your spouse were born in eligible countries but to improve your chances you choose to both charge to the country with the best odds of winning. So – if your spouse was born in Australia and you were born in South Africa, you CAN choose Australia for BOTH of your entries. Why would you do that? Well OC region selectees are around 10 times more likely to be picked in the lottery, so you would be improving your chances massively.

Now- there are a couple of downsides. First, if the winner is charging to a spouses’ country, both selectees must meet the other eligibility criteria (education/work experience) and both must enter the USA together.

Secondly, some COs will not understand this type of elective cross charging. They may incorrectly refuse cases so someone using this method needs to have the 9 FAM rule printed out at the interview. I am providing that link here .

So be cautious with this approach. Only do it if you are sure you know what you are doing and are prepared to present the evidence to argue the case.

Country of Chargeability for DV lottery