People often ask this – people are used to processing immigration through lawyers because the process seems complex and lawyers are “trained experts” – right? So you can improve your chances by using a lawyer when you won the DV lottery – right?
Well in DV lottery cases, the answer is almost always NO. Allow me to explain.
Hopefully you have read my post on the difference between Consular Processing (CP) and Adjustment of Status (AoS). So let me explain why I think you should not be using a lawyer in each of those cases.
CP cases – processing at a US embassy outside of the USA
Biggest reason to not use a lawyer – because the forms and process are both VERY simple. The DS260 is the application for the visa and people all around the world have managed to fill that in with limited English skills and so on. Honestly, a lawyer is not needed to fill in the forms.
Perhaps a lawyer can pull some strings to make the case go faster or make my case more likely to be approved? No absolutely not! The cases are processed according to a predetermined order (the case number) and then scheduled by KCC. You lawyer in London/Paris/Nairobi or wherever has no connections at KCC. None.
So – if you can fill in the simple paperwork, and if you meet the requirements and so on you do not need a lawyer. If you have lied on your forms, or proceed with a fake marriage, then yes – having a lawyer would then be a good idea – to defend you against the charges of immigration fraud.
AoS cases – processing within the USA at a Field Office
Well, it is true that AoS cases can be slightly more complex to process. The forms are slightly more complicated (not difficult, just a bit more detailed) and the process is more daunting. Also, many people that are already In the USA may have used a lawyer to get their temporary visa. So – people are predisposed to hiring a lawyer to get expert help.
However, the vast majority of immigration lawyers in the USA will have never seen a DV lottery based case. Never. How can that be?
Well let’s do some math.
There are around 1 million new immigrants every year. Of those, 50,000 are DV cases. Of the 50,000, AoS cases are around 2000 of those cases – that is around 0.2% of the total. The majority of those are handled without a lawyer, so I would guess that lawyers are involved in maybe 100 to 200 cases a year – perhaps 3000 cases over the whole 20+ years that the DV lottery has been running. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has around 12,000 members, so it is obvious that the majority of lawyers would never have seen a DV case. So – if you want to pay a lawyer $300 per hour to learn on the job, that is your choice, but I have better ways to spend my money.
Oh, and do they help. Well in the majority of DV cases I have known where a lawyer was involved they have not only not improved the process timing, they have actually made things worse. Their lack of DV specific knowledge means they do not understand things such as the early filing policy, or the DV requirements, or the importance of adhering to the DV timelines.
Seriously. If you are considering hiring a lawyer to help on your case, please just go outside and tip a bucket of cold water on your head and send the money you will save to charity.
My blog, and other great resources on the internet are all you need to process your case – don’t waste your money.
won the DV lottery
March 20, 2015 at 16:30
Hello Britsimon. We have just passed medicals and my husband was detected positive on marijuana urine test, what will happen next??? Thank you.
March 20, 2015 at 19:08
That is not a cause for disqualification unless the CO decides your husband is likely to become a public charge. You can only know more by attending the interview.
March 20, 2015 at 19:35
Thanks. But he put in his medical and DS260 form that he never used drugs…?
March 20, 2015 at 19:50
That was a silly thing to do – lying about things is not a good idea.
March 20, 2015 at 20:02
Sure! He said by himself to doctor (really honest person) that he already tried. Are that any chances to be approved for the visa?
March 20, 2015 at 21:47
Yes – most COs won’t make a big deal of the use of weed – but a few more will be more concerned with the lie – as that casts doubt on other statements he has made. Again – you can only wait and see….
March 20, 2015 at 22:05
May 9, 2016 at 05:10
Hello I won my green card in the 2000 lottery. I lived and worked till 2006 in California .
My father fell ill in Australia and in 2013 while helping the green card expired.
My father was recently passed away . I am currently managing his estate and plan to return to USA .
Can you help me with advise to reinstate my Green Card and Social Security card .
May 9, 2016 at 05:59
I think you will need to ask a US based lawyer. You have stayed out of the country for too long, and might have forfeited your status. If you had taken citizenship your status would have been assured. However, as an LPR you are expected to maintain residency in the USA. Did you keep a home in the US? Did you continue to file tax reports in the US? These are the sort of questions they will ask.
July 14, 2016 at 07:35
Hi there. I applied for a syulm in California from one year ago and my case still pending until now , my wife won DV lottery 2017 in her country and I can’t return to attend the interview with her so in this case I have to hiring attorney from fill Ds-260 form for me and my wife ? Or not
And can the embassy refuse give her the visa because I have asylum case ? Or not
July 14, 2016 at 14:12
What is most important is that your wife processes her case. How you handle it exactly depends on her case number and whether she meets all the requirements. Your lawyer will probably advise she processes her case first and then you adjust status based on her win. THat is complex and involves your current asylum case, so you should have a lawyer.
The asylum case is not a problem for her case.
July 14, 2016 at 15:46
If someone have asylum nd win the dv lottery and meet all the requiment .
What that person is supposed to do..?
July 14, 2016 at 16:44
If they are in the USA they can possibly adjust status (I-485).
January 6, 2017 at 17:35
Hi,I am in USA with M1 visa and i applied for asylum last year.Fortunatly i win DV lottery 2017.i filled i 485 last september because my visa will avilable in Novmber.I did finger print last october and still waiting for interview.My I 94 will expired in at the middle of January.so does it affect my process if I 94 is expired before and decision?
How long it takes to get an interview because my case actively for 110 days and i also did a service request and it says “your case is assigned to an officer”.so if you can pealse can you explain me about this situation?
January 6, 2017 at 17:44
All the AOS help you need is on this thread.
September 28, 2017 at 19:36
Hi, I would like try the lottery this year but I’m scared because I’ve always worked under the table except for once. In my country I only worked as babysitter and summer part-time jobs, no one ever declare this there … here in london one they told me they would pay my taxes but I’ve never seen a payslip from them and of course it was cash in hands.. I know I should left but I didn’t have any choice.. When I finally had the opportunity to leave I found one which pay me in the bank account, I was super happy thinking it was legal but I still didn’t see any payslip… So now I don’t know what to do.. I can’t afford to leave this one too and I’m scared because I saw the form and it ask about what did you do in all the countries you have lived… I mean, they pay me less, they took and take from my wage the tax money but they keep it so I didn’t get any benefits only problems but I don’t think the government would care and also I’ve never ask for the residence here at aire… It’s still in Italy.. Is it bad??
September 28, 2017 at 20:49
None of that will matter for your DV case. Just be truthful on the DV case forms, and once in America – pay your taxes!!
April 18, 2018 at 01:00
My family were denied because we didn’t adopt a child two years before winning DV
April 18, 2018 at 02:03
That was a correct treatment of the rules about the child – US immigration law is that you must have adoption papers at least 2 years prior to claiming the child is your derivative for immigration benefits. However, you seem to suggest that the whole family was refused for that problem. Is that correct?
April 18, 2018 at 22:20
Yes, so the issue is we started the adoption application in 2015 which was completed 2017, we won 2016/17, our application went through Administrative processing after 6 months we were denied.
April 18, 2018 at 22:25
The date you started is irrelevant. What counts is when you completed the adoption process
April 18, 2018 at 01:01
Can we take an appeal to reconsider our application
April 18, 2018 at 02:11
May 23, 2018 at 07:35
I registered dv lottery which was done in US and now the result is out but my friend said am on pending what does it means
May 23, 2018 at 13:55
I don’t know what your friend means. Ask him/her.
May 23, 2018 at 14:07
Are there any lawyers I can consult with regards to the Diversity Visa? I was selected and think I am inadmissable and would like to know if there are chances of a waiver with regards to past controlled substance use. I have read many different sources and also forum posts stating that they either make you ineligible permanently, even as a tourist, one year ban + random drug tests or no effect, even after admitting to hard drugs. What would be the best case to present when filling out the DS-260? What effect would it have with regards to the Immigrant Information Act since you will be probably barred from all countries in that treat?
May 23, 2018 at 16:21
Read my other answer.
June 26, 2018 at 15:33
It’s been more than a year since I filled my DS260 form after been selected for the DV Lottery.
I’m still waiting for more news and the time is almost up!
Did I maybe missed something? Shall I fill or make any previous payment?
I’ve also read on a forum that this year the case numbers are lower.
My case number is 33XXX and I saw on a chart that on July they will get only to number 21900.
That this means that I can forget about getting an interview?
Thank you for you help!
June 26, 2018 at 19:07
Your number has not be reached – it is unlikely that they will get to your number – but in 2 to 3 weeks you will know for sure.
July 3, 2018 at 21:32
I was selected for dv2019 but my file logged on system mentioned that i have 1 baby, now my wife is pregnante and will deliver on september, should i hire an attorney or i can still go thru the process by myself! Thank you
July 3, 2018 at 21:41
Most prospective fathers find they can make it through the process without a lawyer – but your wife may want a doctor or nurse to be involved.
July 3, 2018 at 22:12
Hi Brit, thank you, she will need a doctor for sure:) my concern is regarding the new born how can we get him a visa with the family if he wasnt mentioned in the application at first.
July 3, 2018 at 23:12
That is a normal thing to happen.
July 4, 2018 at 00:04
October 30, 2018 at 08:11
Hi brit iwon dv de year 17/18 i filled de form ds260 wat is de nxt steep for me and how will i knw de date of interview, thank you
October 30, 2018 at 12:14
There is much information on this site. Read the lottery guide linked above or https://britsimonsays.com/dv2019-basic-questions/
May 31, 2019 at 17:47
Hello Brit Simon
When I entered DV lottery
I play like married and since that time , we didn’t do a marriage civil but we still have the customary marriage …
Customary it recognize like a marriage in USA?
May 31, 2019 at 19:40
It depends on the rules of your country.
Best advice is to perform a legal wedding process.
August 7, 2019 at 19:14
I helped a family member at the beginning of entry and now we realized the spelling in his name is misspelled and the date of birth was switched between day and month. If we correct it for the DS260 can we still get a chance
August 8, 2019 at 00:42
You should correct it, certainly. There is some risk, given two significant ID changes.
October 19, 2019 at 10:04
Hi Simon I won the visa in in 2016, but was denied at the final stage during the interview because I had listed Australia as the country I am naturalised in, but I was born in South Africa (I have dual citizenship – my parents are Australian) as I was living in Australia when I made the application.
Do you think there is a case for a lawyer have this disputed? I think the wording is a bit bizarre and unclear, especially when both countries are eligible for admission in the program.. and this probably should have been picked up sooner in the process when they first reviewed my application.. any thoughts or advice please?
October 19, 2019 at 15:47
1. The form CLEARLY ask for the country of birth.
2. They provide instructions and a FAQ that explains every single question, including country of eligibility, nativity and so on.
3. It is not their job to “pick this up sooner”. That was your responsibility.
4. Your lottery period ended long ago. Nothing could be done now in any case.
Your denial was predictable, and completely justified. You have no case for a lawyer to argue.
June 6, 2020 at 20:07
I was selected for DV2021 and currently in the US on a F1 visa.
I am wondering if I should fill the I-485 or DS-260 or both?
Should I hire a lawyer for my case?
Thank you in advance!
June 6, 2020 at 22:50
You don’t need a lawyer.
Everything you need to know is on the thread below. There is a linked document from the first post. Sm1smom is the BEST expert on DV AOS cases. She will guide you (she will create a 2021 version of the thread shortly.
July 22, 2020 at 04:50
Hello Mr BritSimon,
I found out last week that I was selected for the Dv2021. And I am currently living in the US however, I have filed for asylum and my asylum case is still pending. I have been doing some research and debating about what my next move should be.
Do you think that I qualify for an AoS?
Any information that you could give would be really appreciated,
July 22, 2020 at 05:04
That depends on whether you were ever out of status. AOS info here:
July 23, 2020 at 05:36
I was never never out of status but I came in with a B1 Visa
September 14, 2020 at 21:10
Good morning MR. Brit
I’m a winner for Dv2021 but in
Submit Your Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application
My name are two times
1: Principal Applicants
I tried to fixed but instead it worst now
Add my wife
What I can do?
Thanks and have a nice day
September 14, 2020 at 22:06
I answered this already.