From time to time there are situations where bad information is published that I believe is detrimental to people’s chance. I addressed a couple of such cases by youtubers in a recent video. However, it is not only youtubers that create such confusion with bad information – just recently Curtis Morrison has done that with advice about unlocking the DS260. Now whilst I like and respect Curtis, I am certain he is incorrect in this case and the advice not to unlock is damaging. So – I am going to lay out my points here.
First here is the comment that Curtis made in relation to a question and answer from the AILA liaison meeting. This meeting is between the AILA staff (AILA being a governing body for American immigration lawyers) and the government.
Now below I have taken the screenshot and annotated it to show certain anomalies in the question and the answer that make me certain that neither the question nor the answer apply to DV cases.
One by one:
- Obviously not correct for DV. As many of you know you can ask KCC to unlock your DS260 to make adjustments.
- NVC – as most of you should know NVC have no part to play in the processing of DV cases.
- Wait one or two years?? No of course that doesn’t apply to DV.
- The government response again suggests DS260s cannot be reopened – again we know that is not true for DV cases.
- NVC again.
- Whilst there is debate about whether the government uses case number (as they have said in sworn testimony) or Processed date, there is NO DOUBT that the DS260 submission date is NOT used for prioritization. We have MANY examples of very early submissions that have not been processed. Submission date is important for other immigration cases (where it translates to priority date) but DV cases do not have a priority date.
- New Doc complete date Whilst this date is used for other types of immigration, the DV law is written in a way that prioritizes the Case number above all else. Now, as I have mentioned above, it is a debatable point BUT it is clear from the context that this point is about the priority date in other immigrant cases.
OK – so hopefully you can see that Curtis has misinterpreted this statement to being related to DV cases when it clearly is not about DV cases at all.
Now – let’s talk about whether unlocking is bad or not. I have actually written an article about this before. Basically, there are some situations when unlocking is the right thing to do, and some situations where you would not unlock.
- No need to unlock for very minor errors (for example a simple spelling mistake on an address, simple date inaccuracy on the education or residence history). With these errors they are unlikely to be impactful at all to your case even if left unchanged, but if you are at all concerned you can change these errors in the interview. In this category I also include changes in job, or completion of education. There is no need to unlock to update those things.
- Errors that should be changed as soon as possible. Examples of this would be mistakes in your name, date of birth and place of birth. Why are those things important? Because they are “identifying” data points. An error on these points could mean that your background checks are invalidated. I have known cases to be delayed and even refused for these important items because the CO took it to mean some sort of deliberate attempt to hide the identity of the applicant. In this category I also include significant changes or omissions of important information like history that shows you lived in another country not already listed. Also full history of social media would come into this category. Again, you do not want to give the impression you are trying to hide something.
- Changes in your personal status. Examples include marital status changes, adding a derivative through marriage or birth and so on. It is very important to make these changes as soon as possible because if you are adding or subtracting an applicant from the case you want to make sure any necessary processing of that person is complete and that they are allocated a visa when you get scheduled for an interview.
Now – does unlocking cause delay – we first be sure you need to unlock. If you do, unlock. Don’t consider the delay that “might” happen (and it does not always cause delay). Why – well because for the types of changes I suggest you unlock for in point 2 and 3 above the alternative could be denial or not getting the right number of visas for your family. I always say “Delay is better than Denial”.
Several people have pointed out a statement made in one of the court declarations as follows:
Now, even if we decide we are to trust that statement, we should note that it talks about unlocking after the case is deemed documentarily qualified. In other words if the case has not been processed yet, it would be unlikely to cause delay, and if the case has been processed you would still be wise to unlock for the scenarios I list in point 3 above (i.e. marital status changes and so on). Yes that could cause a delay, but it is still a wise idea in most cases.
So as for whether a delay will be caused, well that depends on how far your case has been processed. If the case has not been completely processed, there would be unlikely to be any delay in any case. But again, you are usually better to have a delay if the alternative is denial.
Keep in mind, this point needs to be considered along with your case number and how close your case is to being current. Later in the year, I do not recommend unlocking except where absolutely necessary. But if your case is nowhere near being current yet, then unlocking is not a problem.
Don’t forget that lawyers such as Curtis have only been interested in the DV lottery for the past 2 or 3 years and they have only seen dysfunctional years. For DV2023 and beyond I expect normal processing to return, so people should be a lot less concerned about unlocking. And it is for that reason I wanted to document this misunderstanding at this point as the situation will not be the same going forward as we have seen since 2020.