Over the last few days I have been asked to clarify the importance of Marital status and the DV lottery. This point should be simple, but rules vary from country to country – so there is some potential for mistakes which (on marital status) are extremely important to the case. Even though the entry period is over for DV2016, this is important information to clarify to make sure you have not made a crucial mistake.
On the eDV registration (the original entry) you have to indicate your marital status. Making a mistake on these can end your DV lottery dream instantly – so it is critical to get these right! The choices are
- Legally Separated
So – what do those choice mean – here you go…
This means single at the time of the eDV entry and never previously married. This could also mean engaged (because engaged to be married is not married). If you select unmarried and are discovered to have been previously married or married at the time of the entry you will be disqualified.
This means married (in which case you must list your spouse on the eDV entry). If you are separated from your spouse (but that separation is not documented by a court) or estranged or just grumpy with your spouse on the day you enter the lottery then you are married.
So – what do you do if you are married but haven’t seen your spouse in 10 years. Well you still list your spouse, including a photo that meets the requirements if needed. If you win, you simply don’t submit an application (DS260) for your spouse.
How about if you plan to be married shortly after the eDV entry, should you save time and enter married. NO, NO, NO! If you are not married on the day you enter the lottery do not enter as married. If you marry later (during the DV process) there are ways to include your new spouse (as described here) , so don’t make the mistake of claiming marital status without being married – there is no need to risk that (as the risk is disqualification) .
Just a point about “marriage”. The US government recognizes the various forms of marriage around the world. The rough rule is that if the marriage is recognized by the civil authorities in the area where the marriage is performed, and that recognition confers typical rights and privileges of marriage on the couple, then the US government will recognize that marriage for immigration purposes. That applies to any form of legal marriage including same sex marriages.
This means you were married previously, got a divorce (legally recorded through a divorce court) and have not yet remarried – you are currently single. You will need to supply your marriage and divorce documents. If you cannot show the divorce documents you might be assumed to be still married, and in that case you could be disqualified.
This means you were married, your spouse died and you are not currently remarried. You will be asked for proof of the marriage (marriage cert) and the death (death cert).
This is rarely used so you should only select this option if you are certain you are LEGALLY separated. Under this option of the eDV form is the following text:-
“Legal separation means that a court has formally declared that you and your spouse are legally separated. Legal separation means that your spouse would not be eligible to immigrate as your derivative.”
This means you have gone to court and had a separation agreement accepted by the court. This happens when people do not want to divorce yet but need a formal agreement covering things such as who pays for the shared expenses during the separation, access and custody to any children and so on. You will need to show the legal separation document during your interview.
This is not the right option if you have simply separated from your spouse but have not yet divorced. It is my belief that choosing this option when you are not actually legally separated will result in disqualification (because you omit your spouse who should have been on the form.
But I won and my marital situation has changed – is that a problem?
No – life goes on after the eDV entry. You may have got married, divorced, or whatever – so when you submit your DS260 you will do that with your new marital status. However, they will look to prove that you correctly entered your marital status at the time of registration, so you need to make sure your documents are available for the interview and establish the correct timeline.
October 11, 2017 at 21:46
Sir, one more question, if both of win? I win with her as my spouse and she wins with me as her spouse..thats my last question pls.
October 11, 2017 at 22:07
It’s not very likely – but no problem if it happens.
October 12, 2017 at 07:57
really great article. I have one question. My girlfriend are in a civil union and got a baby. We are both going to apply for the green card as `Unmarried` since we are not legally married.
My girlfriend is going to list our baby. Should I do the same? In a maternity hospital I have signed that it is my baby and that it lives on my address. So we have the document stating that I am the father.
Thank you in advance,
October 12, 2017 at 13:57
Yes, you MUST declare the baby.
October 16, 2017 at 23:38
If I live with my partner in a concubinage, can we apply together?
October 17, 2017 at 00:24
No – only married people can apply together. But you can both apply as individuals and get married if either wins.
October 19, 2017 at 09:21
I’ve got a small query. I was born and I am native of a country (Cameroon) that qualify for the lottery. But I now live abroad (in the UK). I read that eligibility depends on country of birth and not country of residence so on that basis, I am certain that I qualify to apply for the DV lottery. However, I am currently married to a British man (He was born in Nigeria; which is a country that does not qualify for the DV lottery but he has already acquired the British citizenship). Being in a marital relationship, I’ve listed him on my original entry application. But since he’s from a country that is not eligible for the lottery, do you think that can jeopardise my application? and if I am lucky enough to be selected for DV-entry 2019, I will not immigrate with him in the US; firstly because he’s already British so not eligible and secondly because in the long term we might be divorced. I am waiting to get a clear answer from you in order to make sure that I do not make any mistake on my application.
October 19, 2017 at 12:31
I am British. I got my DV lottery GC through marriage to my wife (Spanish).
You can BOTH enter the lottery. Give the place of birth. For you, the chargeability is the same as your place of birth, for him, the chargeability (question 6) will be Cameroon.
October 19, 2017 at 13:46
Thanks so much for your reply. He’s not looking forward to move to the US so he wouldn’t bother to apply for the lottery. But I want to as I am really interested in this. My question is on the original application form, where I have to enter my spouse details, do I include his own city and country of birth (Nigeria) or I can just include my country as his?
October 19, 2017 at 13:57
You have to tell the truth. That’s all.
October 20, 2017 at 04:48
Hi! Thank you for an article ! I have a question . My sister won a green card lottery and she’s gonna have an interview soon . When she was applying for lottery her status was married ( no babies ) . After she got pregnant and gave a birth . She filled out all the papers for her and her husband . Now she’s going through divorce . What are the chances she will get a green card with a baby( no baby while applying ) and no husband ( while applying was still married )?
October 20, 2017 at 05:11
I can’t quantify the risk.
October 25, 2017 at 04:10
Hi your site is really helpful! I have a question I am from Cameroon I won the 2016 lottery but I put unmarried in my DS260 they didn’t program my interview yet! I want to know if I can still travel with my fiance because I want to marry her or it will cause a problem to my application! Thank you for your response
October 25, 2017 at 04:16
You would have to marry her first, then you can add her to the case – exactly as described above.
October 27, 2017 at 14:54
I have a question in my mind. I’m married and i just submitted the form of edv . And i’m confused that i had upload my spouse picture or not. So in that case it’s acceptable or not? Plz im waiting any of yours feedback. Tq
October 27, 2017 at 15:26
How can you be confused???
It is not acceptable/possible to enter a spouse without a photo.
October 28, 2017 at 04:06
I currently live in the US (legally with a visa), and my son is a citizen of the US. When I apply the lottery, should I include him? I mean the question is “number of children”, should I say 1 or 0? Thank you
October 28, 2017 at 04:29
Please read the instructions on the entry site.
October 28, 2017 at 06:48
Hello Simon…My wife won the DV lottery and she added me (her husband and our son) but during the Visa interview my self and my son didn’t go because even when we go and get the Visa we cannot travel due to Financial difficulties. NOW MY QUESTION IS HOW EASY WILL WE GET THE VISA NEXT YEAR SINCE MY WIFE WHO HAS GOTTEN THE VISA AND TRAVELLED THERE(USA) has promised to file and pick us up next year God willing.. Thank you
October 28, 2017 at 13:05
It will take 2 years and more money. It’s not going to be as easy as DV.
October 28, 2017 at 07:10
I have a questions regarding about the martial status for my mother. My mom is divorced so should I indicated as divorced or legally separated. She has the paper and everything but our birth certificate didn’t change and my father name was on it.
October 28, 2017 at 13:07
If she is divorced, then the answer is “divorced”.
October 28, 2017 at 07:28
Hi britsimon! by mistake i said 01/4/2010 employed date on ds260 but the correct one is 1/6/2009 should i unlock ds260? since i have university degree has it problem when remain as it is?
October 28, 2017 at 13:08
Accuracy is always better, but in this case it should not cause a problem as is.
October 29, 2017 at 09:09
If one is separated,and don’t live with the spouse,do she have to include the former husband photo,of which she have no access of?.
October 29, 2017 at 15:12
Yes. Exactly as the instructions state.
October 30, 2017 at 14:32
Pls sir, can i take use my phone to take the picture the DV lottery?
October 30, 2017 at 19:59
October 31, 2017 at 04:19
Thanks sir for your site. I have a worry. I and my wife got married in 2013 and she later applied for the dv without indicating she was married and was selected and we later followed the documents as they were from the on set as single .now she lives in US ,sir what are the changes for her bringing me to US knowing our married certificate is back in 2013 .
October 31, 2017 at 05:34
Your wife committed immigration fraud. I cannot help with any of that.
November 2, 2017 at 01:05
How long after the divorce you still need to tick the box “divorced’ and when can you use “unmarried”?
Example: Got divorce 5 years prior and been with the new partner for over 3 years. (not married but living together and relationship registered in Australia)
I have read somewhere that after the divorce is legal you can tick the box “unmarried”.
November 2, 2017 at 02:31
No – that means divorced.
November 3, 2017 at 02:33
Even when being in a registered relationship?
November 3, 2017 at 15:09
The registered relationship has no legal standing as far as US immigration law is concerned.
November 13, 2017 at 23:19
Dear Britsimon I have a question : If the man and women are married and have 4 children can they both apply or only one of them can apply .
November 13, 2017 at 23:52
November 14, 2017 at 21:58
hello BritSimon what about having made a mistake in male female opions in DV ? Is it a serious mistake?
November 15, 2017 at 18:10
Doctors can do amazing things these days.
November 21, 2017 at 06:50
WHERE and HOW to get spouses photo??? I am married but separated. I need to download spouses photo. How to get that photo if separated and not in touch.
November 21, 2017 at 15:48
I don’t know your spouse – you need to use your common sense.
November 21, 2017 at 18:36
i was traditionally married but not court marriage as at time of entry but registered at court before winning. how do i proof the traditional marriage was geniune as at entry level.
November 21, 2017 at 20:20
I don’t know. But the civil marriage will be most important.
November 21, 2017 at 18:59
Hi for Unmarried what would be the answer for Number of Children – 0 or Not Applicable
Please reply fast I m filling form
November 21, 2017 at 19:08
or can “Number of Children” be left blank
November 21, 2017 at 20:26
November 28, 2017 at 05:21
I am selet dv 2018with my doughter.I was select legally sepreted.but cort paper finish at 2017-november 20.as such situation how I can process.plz help
November 28, 2017 at 05:55
So that means you selected separated and were actually married. You will be disqualified if you proceed. There is no doubt.
December 14, 2017 at 23:38
Hi sir a friend of mine checked single during the dv entry but he’s divorce, while summiting the ds260 form he selected divorce and put in his prior spouse name. Will there be a problem?
December 15, 2017 at 03:57
December 16, 2017 at 07:37
A friend of mine got merried after filling ds260,since she is from poor country,wz poor internet access,she couldnt contact the kcc,she is being appointed for interview,so to avoid complication in her interview if she continue as single is it ok.since what matter is love &trust,but risking the dv is a huge loss.
So pls i kindly want ur opinion
December 16, 2017 at 16:07
Her marital status has changed. She must report that change and then both she and her spouse can get the Green Cards.
January 9, 2018 at 04:22
Hi. I’ve won the lottery for the DV-2018. I’m already here in the US with my GC. I have a 5 years relationship with my girlfriend. I wanted to know when is the best time to marry her? Is she going to be able to have a GC too after we get married? Thank you!
January 9, 2018 at 04:38
The best time would have been before you processed your GC. Now it will take about 2 years after you start the process.
January 9, 2018 at 04:44
In that process she would be able to stay legally in the US before she gets her GC?
January 9, 2018 at 04:51
January 11, 2018 at 07:22
Hello mr. Simon.
Hope you are doing well.
I’m DV2018 selectee this year. I was single during applying dv. Me and my girlfriend got married in oct, 2017. we are also software engineers like mr simon:) . We filled in different live address In DS260 because we work in different region company and not live together. Will this causes problem during the interview?
Thanks for your great help!
January 11, 2018 at 14:32
It might create suspicion. In that case you must show proof of your relationship existing prior to the win.
January 13, 2018 at 16:36
I’d be happy if you could answer this question. In our country when you get divorced the status on ID card changes from Married to Single. they do not write Divorced on ID card. Taking this account (the word Single) my friend showed his status as Single in October during initial application. But after winning, in his DS 260 form he mentioned his previous wife (which proves he was married before). Now he’s been called to the interview. he plans to take his national ID to show the officer it was written as Single and convince him that, the fact he did not indicate himself Divorced was due to the status mentioned in his national ID. He really did not mean to hide his previous marriage, but thought he was supposed to put only official information written in his ID to apply for the lottery. Please advise if it will make sense for the consular officer not to disqualify his case?
January 13, 2018 at 23:14
I don’t know whether that will cause refusal or not.
February 12, 2018 at 20:49
For your information, he got his visa and the consular officer did not really bother whether he was single or divorced. And i want to share another case, maybe it will be useful to know. There was a couple who were not married in paper but they indicated themselves as married during application in october (they were in fact living together but without marriage cert) they got married in paper after knowing they won the lottery, and the consular officer issued them the visas.
February 12, 2018 at 22:17
Thanks for the info. The second scenario was “normal”.
January 14, 2018 at 06:58
My husband Entered dv 2008 as single but got married in February 2008 before he was notified that he was selected. He filed the forms DS 230 as married but he was denied visa with the motive of sham marriage. Am USA citizen and I have applied for I-130 petition. Last week I received a NOID and given 30 days to bring more evidence that he is eligible for the benefits.
My question : how can his marriage be classified as sham marriage if he got married before knowing that he will win the DV.
NB. He got divorced in 2015
January 14, 2018 at 15:57
I wasn’t at the interview in 2008 – so I don’t know.
January 16, 2018 at 12:05
Hi, when I apply for the green card lottery i was single but I had girlfriend and we married after I won the lottery and sent our ds260 forms together as a married. but then some situation has changed and I caught my wife is cheating me and now decided to divorce cuz I cant handle this and dont want her coming with me to usa. is that ok if I divorce before interview and go there only myself?
January 16, 2018 at 16:44
Yes – but they will probably suspect you were trying some sort of fraud.
January 17, 2018 at 10:21
I am french and i got married in the state of Texas with a french lady. We came back to france and got separated and we did not transcript our mariage in france. So we are not together since 2003.
In 2010 i got remaried and i beleive she got remaried too. In the meantime i won the dv lottery of 2017.
I have already filled out the DS 260 form and I did answers that I was married now but i did answer that i have already got married once before. Consequently the DS 260 form is asking for a divorce document of my previous mariage which i don”t have. What can I do?
January 17, 2018 at 14:53
The DV is the least of your concern. You are probably a bigamist, and your second marriage is invalid. You had better try and contact the first wife.
January 17, 2018 at 17:36
Actually the french law says that since we did not transcript our mariage in france we are not married in france thus I am not a bigamist. However it is true that we are still married in the US which is the real problem.
I tried to get a divorce in the US from france but it was not possible because one of the requirement is to reside in the US for at least 6 months at the time I fill for divorce.
So coming back to the DV lottery if I undersdant well, your are suggesting that I get a divorce in france with my second wife then that i transcript the first mariage then i get a divorce with the first wife and finally I remarry with my second wife with whom by the way i have 2 daughters.
So basicly other than what I have just descibed above there is no other way to get a legal divorce document for me to present agt the interview. Please let me know
January 17, 2018 at 17:57
Frankly, at this point your DV chances are slim. French law doesn’t control the world. You are a bigamist, certainly as far as US law is concerned. I also doubt what you are saying in French law also. People marry abroad, they are still married, and France like any other country would recognize that marriage. I am British, and married a Spaniard in America. There was no doubt I was married in the UK, Spain, and of course France too. As proof of that principle – you would have been asked if you were previously married when you married in France. Did you say “yes” but they told you that didn’t count because it was abroad, OR did you actually “neglect to mention” that you were previously married?
In fact, divorcing your second wife won’t help, because they will STILL expect the divorce papers for the first marriage, and if you were actually still married, then that wife should have been named on your eDV.
I don’t have a suggestion on how to fix this from a DV point of view, but in any case you should be speaking to a lawyer about how to sort out the mess you are in.
January 17, 2018 at 18:28
Thank you fpr your reply.I will for sure sort my situation out, no doubt about it.
But for you to know as far as France is concern I am not a bigamist.The information has been confirmed by a french Lawyer. No transcription has been done in France that when we were able to get married.
Regarding the DV i agree there is slim chance to get through but nothing is impossible. I am sure we will find a proper solution. Thanks anyway.
January 30, 2018 at 01:27
I have first applied as single. Then I got married to my boyfriend. I unlocked my case and added my husband and send it again. Our relationship is 5 years now. We gots lots of pictures and airplanes tickets, hotel reservations that can prove our relation. We have been in USA before together in a student statue at the same school. However, since I have double nationality french and greek, I won the lottery as a french, but after getting married I started living with my husband for few month in Greece. My question is, my husbands home adress is different than mine because his living in greece and do not have french nationality yet. I am currently staying with him in greece until our appointment. Does our addresses will be a problem? We have filled out different addresses. Secondly, as I have double nationality, can I show my bank account that I have in Greece instead of France? Since I am currently in Greece, all my savings are here..
Thank you sir!
January 30, 2018 at 06:28
The address may cause some concern (and your reason makes no sense). You can show bank accounts from anywhere.
January 30, 2018 at 08:31
So what do you suggest then? If it causes concern how to prove them that we are living together? Or how to solve this problem?
January 30, 2018 at 14:32
That is up to you.
March 20, 2018 at 01:52
Thanks A lot mr brit for your valuable information and for your efforts. I am a winner of the dv2018, The problem is, the friend who filled out The edv for me recorded that I was unmaried while I was divorced 5 months before my application date and no kids (honest mistake with no bad intentions) . In ds 260 i manchend thant i was divorced and i filled all the info about my previous wife and the date of divorce. is there any hope ? I will take my divorce papers issued by the court in the day of the interview, do I have any chances or its better to forget about it and follow my normal life ?? Thank you in advance, may God help you
March 20, 2018 at 04:12
There is a high chance of refusal – but because no derivative had opportunity to get the visa, they might forgive the error. It’s a risk – so your choice.
April 15, 2018 at 05:12
i have applied for Dv lottery 2019 but i was single during the application, am now married to a US citizen am i supposed to add him to my case?
April 15, 2018 at 14:00
If you win.
April 15, 2018 at 14:00
If you win, ask then.
May 2, 2018 at 07:01
I wonder can me and my husband enter seperately? Will this count as double entry? thanks
May 2, 2018 at 13:34
You can each enter separately with married status.
May 21, 2018 at 16:25
My husband won the dvlottery for the year 2018 – 2019. He is from Nepal but currently working in Dubai. (Where we met). While me and our daughter are staying in Philippines for almost a year now. He filed as a family all our details are there. But question is where should the interview be held? In UAE where he is currently staying or in Nepal? Because he told me I also need to be present during the interview. I need to prepare to fly just in case..
May 21, 2018 at 16:45
You all need to interview together. The interview will be scheduled according to his current address.
May 24, 2018 at 11:53
In our country, there is something we term as ” come we stay” thus marriage without legal documents which is really common here ( in our country). Now if you were married in this form of marriage and later the marriage got abusive and you ( lady) decided to leave with your kids go start a life a fresh as a single mum, and luckly you are now a winner of the lottery, and at the first entry you mentioned you are single with kids, when filling the DS260 what option should one select between Married, Unmarried, etc?
And at the interview day should one say she was married before even if there are no legal documents to prove I.e marriage certificate?
Or should one stick to saying she is single and never got married since there is no prove?
Kindly need your response.
May 24, 2018 at 14:06
May 27, 2018 at 13:37
i was married before 3 year with another person , now im married to another one so i need ur help what can i say in my question on ds260 Do you have any presious spouse ?? i dont have any decument about my frist divorce just i remeber the date…. its that a problem or what i have to do… thank you !
May 27, 2018 at 14:44
You may need to show divorce documentation. As for what you have to do – tell the truth is all I advise.
June 25, 2018 at 13:28
Hi Mr Brit
My wife won the dv lottery she played as single and filled her Ds260 for as single and on the day of her interview she said she is single meanwhile we got married few days before her interview and she travelled now her green c is out and she wants to file for me hope it will not be a problem cus she told me she was tensed thats why she said unmarried
Thks will be waiting for your reply
June 25, 2018 at 14:10
Well once she is settled and working in the USA she can sponsor you. It will take about 2 years.
It would have been MUCH easier to add you during the DV process.
June 28, 2018 at 09:46
My husband won, and I was listed with him and our 2 sons. We already send our applications. I set the interview location of my husband different from mine and our sons because it is likely we will be in different country by that time.
However, I would like my husband to be approved first, before we pay for the interview fee for mine and our sons.
We do not have a lot of money so it will be really helpful if we could do that? Is that possible?
Can my husband, the winner of dv lottery, can first just pay for his interview which will happen in another country? After we make sure that he will get it, we can process mine and the kids.
We are now waiting for the next step from KCC, but i can’t stop worrying about it.
June 28, 2018 at 15:26
No – you cannot do that. They will schedule the interview all together on the same day.
July 7, 2018 at 23:00
I know the rules – but in practice this wouldn’t work without extreme risk. So – it is better to simply assume it cannot be done – hence my answer. In most cases there is no good reason to do this, and if they fail (more likely than not) then the other way is family based sponsorship – leading to a 2 year process, much more complicated, and with tougher criteria.
July 7, 2018 at 23:01
Please leave the answering to me, by the way.
July 7, 2018 at 23:15
No. You are reading some words. You have no idea what it takes. So whether you understand it or not I prefer to give people the best advice possible (even sometimes being conservative in my answers) to avoid them relying on idiotic suggestions from someone who read something but has no skin in the game, and no experience. I would give the chance of success of that plan about 1 in 10 AT BEST.
July 7, 2018 at 10:29
Recently I found out that I was chosen for the dv lottery. I applied married with one child . My wife doesnt want to come with me due to some family issues she is having i.e (her mother is too old and sick and never like to leave her alone as she is only one daughter to her). Is it possible and permitted not to join my wife to interview visa but to join /or not joining my Son as he is still a child of around 4years 5 months 6 days?
Does she have to come with me with our child right away to the interview and to US or can she/they come later.
Othman A. Rahman Mohammadain
July 7, 2018 at 15:48
If your derivatives don’t go to the interview you would then have to sponsor them later which takes 2 years and is a harder process.
August 9, 2018 at 19:03
I won a GC lottery 2017..I applied single but I have two kids and and married traditin marriage…what will do coz I lied I did that to increase the chances of winning. .please advice me I love my family
August 9, 2018 at 19:37
You mean you left the children off the entry as well as the spouse? If so you will be disqualified because you lied – and you lied deliberately to cheat the system to improve your chances – which by the way was idiotic because the draw is random so you didn’t increase your chances at all.
August 25, 2018 at 23:24
If you won Dv 2017, and you was unable to go for the interview ,a this posble that you can play and win in 2019?
August 26, 2018 at 01:11
October 7, 2018 at 20:30
Hi,please help me out.
I am trying to fill the form,and I cannot see an option to list my partner to whom I’m not yet married but with whom I have a child,I saw in the form an option to list my child,but I cannot see any option to list my partner,and I read somewhere that she must me included in my application if I’d like her and I to travel together in case I win,what should I do?
October 8, 2018 at 03:04
You cannot include her unless you are married. So – enter as single, listing the child, and if you get selected you can marry and then include her.
October 13, 2018 at 00:24
A letter “e” was omitted from my name on my college document. Example “Jean” instead of Jeane. Will it pose a problem when i go for my interview?
October 13, 2018 at 00:35
October 15, 2018 at 13:40
Hi Brit i won Dv2019 then i was in a relationship and a got a child from this relationship then the child is named after the father of his father that grandfather of his dads side then later his father went to Germany and got married there. Then when filling the dv 260 i lot single will this at any time affect my interview or how to go about it?
October 15, 2018 at 13:48
Do you have a child or not? If you did, was that child listed on your entry?
October 15, 2018 at 15:34
Hello sir. i am selected for 2019 but on the entry in my photo the head was big and the shoulder is visible only a little portion.But the photo is in the white background. And while resizing the image to 2×2 size the image was stretched a little bit which makes head look bigger. Will it cause denial at the visa interview due to photo? Please tell me sir i am from Nepal.
October 15, 2018 at 16:39
How could I possibly know? I have no idea.
October 15, 2018 at 16:21
Hello brit. My birth place in my pasport and birth certificate is the same but in our marriage certificate different and i am a derivative of my husband is there any problem here.
October 15, 2018 at 16:42
October 16, 2018 at 16:54
Yes Brit i have a child from that relationship and i in
October 22, 2018 at 16:35
I am married can both of us apply with our daughter separately?
October 22, 2018 at 17:04