I am getting frustrated with some foolish people who are going ON and ON about the DV2018 draw because people who used old photos were selected and this makes things unfair. People are trying to raise a petition, threatening lawsuits and generally behaving like childish sore losers. I’m a little tired of re-reading the same things over and over again, so let me address the problem and explain why the whole petition thing is nonsense.


The belief of these people is that the rules which state the technical specifications for the photos and the instruction (new for DV2018) that re-use of the DV2017 entry photo will cause disqualification, are somehow mixed together and the government are allowing a fraud to take place, and that this is unfair.


First, it has been the case for many years that technical specifications for the photos have included the size of the photo, instructions about the background and lighting and so on. Additionally the photo submitted is supposed to be RECENT – less than 6 months old. Those are technical specifications. However, whilst the photo validation software can catch an incorrect sized photo it cannot catch, an old photo, one where the eyes are closed, one where the photo is of the wrong person or one where the photo is not even a person – say an elephant. So – some photos can’t be submitted, some will be possible to submit, but may cause disqualification at some point during the process.


In particular though, the people complaining are mixing the new instruction about DV2017 photos with old photos.


So – let’s just state again the differences between an “OLD” PHOTO and one that was RE-USED FROM DV2017.

OLD photos

There is a rule that entry photos should be recent (less than 6 months old). However, there is no way to know the age of the photo until the CO compares the photo with the person and sees the young man in the entry photo now  has grey hair. In that case the CO could disqualify the person at interview for failure to follow the procedures. Whether to disqualify on that basis or not is entirely up to the CO. They can simply choose to not be suspicious about the age of the photo. I have known disqualifications for old photos, but it is rare (much rarer than the actual occurrences, I’ll wager).


In the DV2018 instructions there is a new and explicit statement that re-using a photo that was used in the DV2017 entry would cause disqualification. Note – they did not say any future lottery, they said DV2017. Why is that? Well – photo comparison technology has been improved. Anyone can use google to search the internet for a photo. It will return results that have the same composition, even if the photo is cropped differently, named differently, color edited and so on. It’s new and powerful technology and it relies on indexing the pool of photos to compare to (which is exactly how google works). It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the government have implemented this technology as an index on DV2017 photos, and were able to search DV2018 photos against it. The logical conclusion of that is that they would have disqualified such instances prior to notification, and people would simply see “not selected”. I have not found a single account where someone is saying they were selected and had reused a DV2017 photo. Given the traffic on my site, I think I would have been notified by now if that had happened (although happy to talk to anyone reading this that says that is what they did). However, this does NOT mean that the government could not have chosen to allow the selectees to be notified and then disqualify such entries at interview. They said people would be disqualified, they didn’t say when they would disqualify!

As for people who think everything is unfair blah blah. Given that the lottery is always over selected, KCC therefore allow for people to be waiting after other cases are disqualified.  How is a rule following person disadvantaged by some other person with a higher number being selected and then disqualified in front of them? There is no such disadvantage. There is nothing unfair. There is also no right to complain – this is a lottery. As long as the lottery is performed according to the law (as it has been), then the draw is valid.

Lastly – a bit of speculation. There were a load of people who seem to not read the darn instructions. Those people with reused 2017 photos will have created “holes” between the case numbers (because that is what happens when someone is disqualified before notification – see holes theory)  OR will increase the refusal rate at interview.  I believe more holes. So – although we are seeing high case numbers suggesting a DV2015 level of selectees (say 115k to 130k), we might actually see low (DV2016/DV2017) selectee numbers (80k to 100K) because of all the holes created by DV2017 photo entries (i.e. lower density).  We will only see that once the selectee numbers are published which could be as late as June or July.