There seems to be quite a bit of confusion about Follow to Join for DV lottery cases.
Follow to Join (FTJ) is sometimes thought to be a way to allow a family to spread out their immigration processes over time – so a principal selectee thinks he/she can attend the DV interview on his/her own, emigrate to the USA and have his/her family interview at some later date. That is not the correct FTJ process and planning to spread the interviews like that can result in complications and even denial.
So – what is the purpose of “follow to join”?
FTJ for DV cases is solely to provide a way that a DV principal applicant who is already in the USA on some other temporary visa (but without his/her derivative family members) can process the case. The principal selectee can adjust status in the USA, and once that is completed, the derivative family members can be processed at a foreign embassy under consular processing. This is a risky process that should not be attempted late in the DV year. Adjustment of Status (AoS) can take longer than CP cases, and the AoS must be completed before the CP appointments for the family can be held. It is possible for visas to run out in the interim period or the DV year to end which will leave the family divided. The family would then have to go through normal family immigration processes which would take longer and cost more money. So if you are thinking of FTJ, be sure you understand what you are taking on.
The US DOS guidebook (Foreign Affairs Manual) has this information about FTJ.
9 FAM 42.33 PN6.3 Following-to-Join Applicants
DV applicants are informed in the electronic notification of how to adjust status to
lawful permanent residence in the United States. A principal applicant who has
adjusted status may file Form I-824, Application for Action on an Approved
Application or Petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
requesting DHS send the Form I-824, upon its adjudication, to consular posts as
verification of his or her LPR status. Upon receipt of this information, posts must
send any derivative family members instructions for accessing the Form DS-260,
Online Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, and the Packets for
Immigrant Visa Processing (see 9 FAM 42.63 PN1.2) for completion. Post must
notify the KCC of the adjustment of the principal applicant so that the electronic
case can be modified and transmitted to post to allow visa issuance to the
derivative family members. Proof of the principal applicant’s adjustment of status
must be provided to the KCC. Posts can then process these cases to conclusion,
obtaining additional DV numbers from the Immigrant Visa Control and Reporting
Division (CA/VO/F/I,) as necessary, via VISAS FROG messages (see 9 FAM
Appendix E 300). Spouses and children who derive status from a DV registration
can only obtain visas in the DV category during the specified Fiscal Year.
Applicants cannot follow-to-join after the end of the Fiscal Year.
Thanks to “Mom” for this link!
June 28, 2015 at 06:59
I am doing AoS (F1 status at the moment) and my CN is 2015AF47xxx (not current). I am planning on filling an I-824 at the same time. I think I’ll be current in July for an interview in September. When do you think my wife can get her visa? Is she going to be interviewed at the same time. What are your advice for me in this case? I appreciate your help
June 28, 2015 at 15:07
You are not going to have very much time to get this sorted out – so it is important you do everything right. Plus you are about to go current so you need to make sure you can file your case under the early filing policy – you will be able to file in about 2 to 3 weeks.
I suggest you ask “Sm1smom” about how you should proceed. She is the expert on AoS – give her the details in the thread below and take her advice. http://forums.immigration.com/threads/dv-2015-aos-only.7/
July 1, 2015 at 18:20
I am really worried about the few things “Sm1smom” said and I know it’s risky a my point by I still need advice so I can try my best at least to make it happen. I really want to bring my spouse here and at this point any advice would help. I posted there again and again but no response. Please help. Thank you very much
July 1, 2015 at 21:32
Sm1smom is the expert on AoS. So no – to say “any advice would help” is not correct. Her advice is what you should take. The reality is you may well have left it too late – but post there again and politely ask what she recommends at this point.
July 6, 2015 at 00:35
Thank you. She told me to focus on my case and see at the interview if I’ll be able to file for FTJ.
I called KCC to get more information too. The lady that answered my call said that I should submit as soon as my number is current and call my local office in order to get my interview as early as possible. I don’t know if this is correct since USCIS has to send you the notice, the appointment for biometrics and the interview dates, any clarifications on this?
For the Biometrics I want to try walk ins in order to save time. Do you know how I could find the local office (I’m in Minnesota) where I should go for that?
July 6, 2015 at 02:14
Frabrice. It is pointless calling KCC – they know nothing about processing cases – particularly AoS. You must not wait until you are actually current – you will have to take advantage of the early filing. Then the biometric will be arranged for you and you could at that point try a walk in. You will use Infopass appointments too to make sure you case proceeds fast and you obviously will need to get your case approved as soon as possible in your current month. You would be wise to also arrange the embassy interview ahead of time.
Mom is your best guide on ALL of this. Make sure you engage with her on the AoS thread.
July 6, 2015 at 02:46
Hi brit. I’m really finding it difficult to ask you questions. I’m one of the winners of the dv 2015.my case #is 2015af42428. I filled in my ds260 form on the 14 of October 2014 but up to now,I have not receive any letter of appointment. I need your advice. Thanks.
July 6, 2015 at 05:58
You should have been scheduled for an interview in August. Check the ESC site – perhaps you missed the letter. If not, contact KCC and ask why is the issue. Do that ASAP.
July 13, 2015 at 12:37
Following to join – Dv Lottery 2016
I am outside of USA.
I hav already sen my DS 260. i am still waiting for the agreement. Without agreement, there is no wedding. My wedding will be in december after my interview.
I beieve that i will fill i-824.
What can I do for having these papers?
A copy of the original application or petition that you used to apply for immigrant status
A copy of Form I-797, Notice of Action, for the original application or petition
March 24, 2016 at 12:39
dear simon the second letter for my no af 25xxx is on its way this week you think or itvcould take more than two weeks from the visa bulletein relase on the 9th of march for the may interview ??? thank u
March 24, 2016 at 14:05
It takes ROUGHLY 2 weeks, sometimes less, sometimes more. Patience.
March 25, 2016 at 20:38
dear simons as i you lnow now the second letter is underway i submitted my ds 260 june one 2015 never unlocked my no is af25xxx interview 3rd may 2016 . wish me luck please
March 25, 2016 at 20:41
Thanks for letting me know – good luck!
July 19, 2017 at 13:56
Dear Simons, I adjusted status in march base on DV 2017 and want to request follow to join for my daughter, I know we are already in July. Do I have enough time for the follow to join process. How long does it take?
July 19, 2017 at 14:03
FTJ cases are rare – and depend on the scheduling with the home embassy – so I have no information about a “normal” timeline. Certainly, if you want to do that you must get on with it immediately.
July 26, 2017 at 13:57
I’m an F1 visa student studying here in the US.
My father won DV-2017 in Nepal and has already received his green card.
He had filed DS-260 for me. I was called for visa interview with him but didn’t go.
He had told the US embassy that he was doing a follow up to join for me.
What should I do to get DV3?
July 26, 2017 at 19:48
Your father has misunderstood the process. You cannot use FTJ process – you should have attended the interview. Now your father can sponsor you via family based sponsorship – but that will take a long time.
September 14, 2017 at 10:16
Hi Brit, after reading your article on the FTJ I want your candid opinion and advise on this scenario:
I am a DV2018 selectee in AF region. I am married with kids and have completed all DS260 and submitted, selecting my home country (in Africa) as interview point. My CN (AF16xxx) is not gone current and is likely not to do so until may be Nov or Dec (for Jan or Feb interview respectively). Currently my B1/B2 visa is still valid until about mid Jan 2018, and I want to visit my Dad who is not well and will be undergoing surgery next month. My dad recently secured permanent residency through marriage to my step mum – a citizen.
1. Should I arrive and realize that I will need to spend some more time with my them, can I unlock my DS260 and change the interview location to the States and apply for AoS – that is if I qualify for AoS?
2. If I qualify for AoS, what process will I need to go through and how do I start?
3. From your article on FTJ above, if I am successful with my application, will my wife and kids will be ok to still go through the consular process without me with them?
September 14, 2017 at 13:04
This is a good plan if denial is your desired outcome.
September 14, 2017 at 14:06
Great, many thanks Brit. I guess I will need to return after his surgery to do CP when my CN goes current. Thanks, I appreciate the advice.
September 14, 2017 at 14:10
That is safest. That avoids rejection for preconceived immigrant intent (which is exactly what you described).
January 7, 2018 at 10:18
Is it possible for the pricipal applicant to leave family behind (after interviewing together & visa approval, no AOS) by few months to arrange things in the US and they join before visa expiry? Please advise with regard POE, the sealed packet,
Thank you for your time
January 7, 2018 at 16:37
Yes. The principal takes their own packet only.
April 12, 2018 at 06:17
Is it too late for someone to file for a follow to join visa for the spouse after being issued a visa in july 2018?or the process might take long and september deadline lapses advice.
April 12, 2018 at 06:33
That would be theoretically possible, but very risky.
June 28, 2018 at 01:39
Me and my daughter have received our green cards on October 2017 by dv lottery. I got married to father of my baby on July 2017 during my visa process. but we could not add him to my case as the time was not sufficient.
I am in the United states and my husband is inhometown. he came here two times for period of 2 weeks in October and April by tourist visa.
my question is that is my husband eligible for following to join benefits ?
we still have not filed form 1-130 and have not applied for his green card.
June 28, 2018 at 04:03
You can file an I-130 for him – but it’s a new process, nothing to do with DV now. Once you file, it will take around two years.
November 5, 2018 at 09:01
I am the winner for DV2019
I filled DV-260, is it possible to know my original form was fled status was single or married as i filled 260 online form put my spouse too , is there any difference between individual 260 DV form and family 260dv form as i l already filled family 260 DV online form or for both individual and married applicants they issuing same 260 DV forms, ? Thank you
November 5, 2018 at 14:37
If you filed as married your spouse would already be listed as an applicant when you start your DS260.
January 14, 2019 at 22:08
My wife is the winner and she did not have to answer the questions “Can you speak and/or read languages other than your native language?” however, I had this question on my DS-260 form, How can you explain it?
For the question “Do you have documentation to establish that you have received vaccinations in accordance with U.S. law?” we answered “No” but add the following comment “I AM IN PROCESS OF REVIEWING VACCINATION REPORTS AND I WILL OBTAIN THE REQUIRED VACCINATIONS ON OR BEFORE THE DATE OF THE MEDICAL EXAM”. Shall we answer contact KCC and change our answer to yes?
January 14, 2019 at 22:18
1. I can’t explain it.
2. No was the correct answer.
January 14, 2019 at 22:31
1. Have you already heard such a case?
2. Thanks, much better
January 15, 2019 at 04:09
1. No. But then I wasn’t there when your spouse completed the form. She may have missed or misunderstood the question. Either way – it is not important.
March 25, 2019 at 08:01
Hi simon. Kindly clarify this to me .I Am waiting for 2nl .i really want some information about my derivative my plan is to leave him in my country then when i get settled he follows , if my interview is probably in Aug 2019 will i have a chance to do that as the year expires in sept? Kindly help am so confused
March 25, 2019 at 13:34
If he is a derivative on your DV case he will have an expiry date of his visa of 6 months after the medical. That cannot be extended.
The other option is to sponsor him later – but that takes around 2 years.
March 29, 2019 at 13:05
Thank you so much for clarifying on these .So if i take the sponsor option,
1.is it definite he will join me after the 2 years?
2. And how is the process?
3.which one would you advise me to take up?
March 29, 2019 at 13:10
4.lastly if i choose to sponsor them later, that should only mean i stop processing his case at what point in our case , medical perhaps?
March 29, 2019 at 17:26
Don’t spend money on medicals you don’t need. Common sense.
March 29, 2019 at 17:25
1. No. There can always be surprises.
3. Your choice.
July 21, 2019 at 00:58
You mentioned that AoS could take longer than CP. My situation is the following… I graduated last May from the University in US and now I am working under OPT program, which means my F1 visa was extended to allow me to work for 12 months here. In my DS-260 I mentioned that I want to do AoS, but because my case number is pretty high (50xxx) I am worried that my F1 status could end before my interview will take place. I can stay in the US until July 31, 2020. What would be your advise? Shall I change my interview location to my home country or stick with AoS? Thanks in advance!
July 21, 2019 at 01:18
It is too soon to know the exact timing. It would be better to hold on a few months until we see some number progress.