Diversity Visa Application: Behind the Scenes


The Diversity Visa application/interview scheduling process is a constant source of confusion for applicants and non-applicants alike. People are usually puzzled by the workings of KCC, which leads to never-ending inquiries.

Moreover, many of those who try to provide information on the subject actually add to that confusion. But it should really not be that way.

In this article, I explain how the system put in place works to attend to the various DV applications submitted to the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC). The system in question is commonly referred to as the “Regional Queues” System.

Current Realities

To begin, let’s mention a number of realities that apply to the Diversity Visa application process:

1. Only selectees/cases that have submitted their online DS-260 Application are considered for “further processing” by KCC;

2. The other condition for a case to be scheduled for interview is when its case number becomes current i.e. when it falls BELOW the cut-off of its region for a given month. Provision for interview in a given month is made only for cases that are current for that month.

3. DV selectees are “placed” in “queues,” beginning at the lowest, and ending at the highest case number in their region;

NOTE: Since COVID-19, in the scheduling of Diversity Visa interviews, the “Regional Queues” system – explained in this article – has been substituted by the “Embassy Queues” system. (See UPDATE at bottom of page).

4. The State Department establishes up to what case number should be interviewed from each region every month. That’s where the Visa Bulletin (VB) comes in. It shows cut-offs for each region on a monthly basis. A cut-off is a number that establishes the “interview range” for a given region in a given month. In other words, it determines the case numbers that are/will be current in that month. If your Case Number is the same as or higher than the cut-off number for your region for a given month, you must wait for the release of the next Visa Bulletin to see if it would become current.

With the above in mind, let’s get straight into things.

It all starts in August

At the beginning of August, KCC start to attend to applications in each queue for the upcoming DV program which begins in October. By then, interview scheduling concerns only the lowest case numbers in each region (the lowest case numbers are the ones interviewed in October, at the beginning of the program year).

Because of that, selectees (from the results published in May) with the lowest case numbers within their region should fill out and submit their online DS-260 Application earlier enough in order for their case to be processed before August and scheduled for an October interview.

At the same time (in August), the State Department publishes in the Visa Bulletin the cut-off to apply in October for each region. The release of the VB in August is immediately followed by the sending out of notifications for October interviews to those applicants who (1) properly filled out and submitted the DS-260, (2) whose DS-260(s) has/have been processed, and (3) whose case numbers fall BELOW the October cut-off published for their region.

An Example, for Better Understanding

To explain this better, let us consider the following numbers as being the lowest selectee case numbers within a given region: 15, 26, 45, 63, 91, 100, 125, 133, 138, 149, 162, 175, 186, 198, 200, 202, 209, etc. And let’s say we’re in August, and the cut-off to apply in October for that region is 200. Let’s also suppose that numbers 15, 91, and 125 have not submitted their DS-260, while numbers 63 and 162 have submitted theirs, but the forms have not been processed. (The rest properly submitted their DS-260s, and had them processed successfully).

As it relates to October interviews for that region, KCC will only schedule the cases who have met ALL three conditions listed above, beginning with Case Number 26 (not 15), followed by Number 45, then Numbers 100, 133, 138, 149, 175, 186 and finally 198 (the October cut-off being set at 200). Scheduling of October interviews comes to an end by the end of August.

Cut-off numbers increase as the fiscal year progresses

When September begins, attention moves to November interviews, beginning at the cut-off numbers for October (Case Number 200 in our example) and including higher case numbers up to, but BELOW the new cut-offs established for November (higher than the previous), and which will appear in the VB published in early September. NL2 for November are subsequently sent out up to the end of September.

The process of cut-off numbers being revised upward to include higher case numbers than those attended to the month before goes on month after month, resulting in cases in all regions being spread out and attended to as the fiscal year progresses.

The lower the case number, the better.

Having a low case number is an advantage. As interviews in each region begins with the lowest case numbers, and only case numbers below the cut-off shown for their region are eligible for interview, applicants with low numbers generally have a good advantage over those with high ones.

The higher the case number, the riskier.

This is the downside of a high case number: some never fall below the cut-off shown for their region up to the end of the program year, and are therefore not eligible for interview throughout the program year.

Many think that any case that meets up with the two main conditions early enough are “rewarded” with early service. But it doesn’t work that way. Lower case numbers that meet the conditions are usually prioritized over higher ones.

The process never ends

The process of attending to cases, VB release, sending out of NL2 as well as conduct of interviews goes on nonstop throughout the year, with each case interviewed being attended to based on the above-mentioned conditions, and then notified TWO MONTHS EARLIER (counting months, not days).

In October, the process moves another step: processing (i.e. examining) and scheduling cases to be interviewed in December. The November VB which is released in October, informs applicants of the December “interview range”. As that is ongoing, interviews for October which had been scheduled two months earlier – in August – are held in embassies/consulates around the world.

In November: KCC attend to cases for January; release of the VB for December (showing cut-offs to apply in January); sending out of NL2 for January interviews; while November interviews (which were scheduled in September) are taking place.

In December: attending to cases for February; release of the VB for January (showing cut-offs to apply in February); sending out of NL2 for February interviews; while December interviews (which were scheduled in October) are taking place.

In January: attending to cases for March; release of the VB for February (which shows cut-offs to apply in March); sending out of NL2 for March interviews; while January interviews (which were scheduled in November) are taking place.

In February: attending to cases for April; release of the VB for March (which shows cut-offs to apply in April); sending out of NL2 for April interviews; while February interviews (which were scheduled in December) are taking place.

What does “Current” mean in the VB?

Usually in the second half of the fiscal year, however, it happens that there is no backlog of DV cases – for a region or some regions – to be attended to at KCC. In other words, after having processed cases on hand, KCC realize that, if they apply a cut-off as they should normally do, not sufficient cases will be “on file” for an upcoming month. In that case, they accept – for processing – any application from the region(s) concerned (including those with high case numbers) that have met the first two conditions. In that case, case number no longer counts. We say the region(s) concerned has (have) become (gone) CURRENT.

This scenario somewhat favors those with high case numbers who fill out and submit their DS-260 relatively early enough. That was the case of a client of ours who left for the States a couple of weeks ago. While he was on his way to the States, I was quite surprised to learn by means of a comment on this site that a selectee with a lower case number than his was still expecting to receive her NL2.

This tells us that the lady met both requirements later in the fiscal year, whereas our client’s case had been attended to months earlier. That is why I generally advise selectees with a relatively high case number to meet up with the requirements relatively soon enough so that if their region goes current, they would have a good chance of being interviewed.

A Caution to Some Cases with VERY High Case Numbers

Those whose case numbers are observed to be quite high in their region AND who foresee themselves applying for a non-immigrant visa in the future are however advised to be cautious in submitting their DS-260. As I’ve mentioned before, submitting a DS-260 equates to expression of intent to emigrate to the United States. As such, cases with DS-260 successfully submitted, but who eventually end up NOT being invited for interview because the annual visa quota ran out before they were ‘served’, get ‘on file’ for having expressed an intent to emigrate.

Such cases could easily be denied non-immigrant visas by consular officers fearing that they may use the non-immigrant visa ‘opportunity’ to ‘actualize’ their original intent to emigrate. That is for applicants with very high case number who intend to visit the U. S. in the future.

Cut-Off Vs “Current” Status

In the second half of the fiscal year, at one point or another , the Visa Bulletin  shows either specific cut-offs or “CURRENT”. It all depends on whether sufficient cases are on file for the month concerned or not, respectively.

In March: KCC attend to cases for May; release of the VB for April (showing either cut-offs or “current” status to apply in May); sending out of NL2 for May interviews; while March interviews (which were scheduled in January) are taking place.

In April: attending to cases for June; release of the VB for May (showing either cut-offs or “current” status to apply in June); sending out of NL2 for June interviews; while April interviews (which were scheduled in February) are taking place.

In May: attending to cases for July; release of the VB for June (showing either cut-offs or “current” status to apply in July); sending out of NL2 for July interviews; while May interviews (which were scheduled in March) are taking place.

In June: attending to cases for August; release of the VB for July (showing either cut-offs or “current” status to apply in August); sending out of NL2 for August interviews; while June interviews (which were scheduled in April) are taking place.

In July: attending to cases for September (the final cases for that fiscal year’s program); release of the VB for August (showing either cut-offs or “current” status to apply in September); sending out of NL2 for September interviews; while July interviews (which were scheduled in May) are taking place.

And in August, the process resumes for the next fiscal year. On and on, this process continues.

That is how the Diversity Visa application/interview scheduling process works based on the system put in place.

Hope this helps in dissipating doubts you may have had.




49 thoughts on “Diversity Visa Application: Behind the Scenes

  1. Hello,

    My personal situation have changed and I would like to withdraw my case after I submitted my DS 260 for DV 2024. Is there any way to do so? I see I can send an inquiry to NVC but I don’t know if this is appropriate for DV lottery.
    What happens to ESTA in these circumstances?


      1. Thanks so much for the reply!
        Would I still be able to travel under ESTA if they withdraw my case?

  2. Hi,
    I am a DV2023 selectee with case number 2023AS00020XXX, I submitted my DS-260 application in August and I have a couple of questions:
    1- does sending the application late risk my chances of getting an interview?
    2- do I have to send documents to KCC now or wait for interview to submit documents?
    3- if all goes well and I recieve my 2NL, how long do I have to prepare all documents including health check up?

      1. Hey,
        Thanks for the quick reply
        I submitted the DS-260 in August,22. Does this pose a risk to my application for DV2023

  3. Hi, thanks for all your precious information.

    Our case number(2022AS000123**)became current in June; however, to this date (July 20th), no invitation for an interview has been sent for me. Thus, that has concerned me whether some problem has occurred with my application. Could you help me understand what’s going on with my application and the odds of obtaining the visa before the end of the fiscal year?

    1. Hi Aryan:

      The problem is not with your application. It’s rather with the 2022 Program. The program was badly administered from the start. And this has affected most applicants. There are so many other 2022 applicants are in the same situation you find yourself in.

      Things have improved in recent months, but the effects are still being felt. Currently, there’s a lot being done to get as many cases scheduled as possible. So if yours is one of the lucky ones, you will receive your interview notice in the coming few weeks. But the reality is most 2022 applicants who have seen their case number become current will unfortnately not be scheduled for interview by the end of the Program year.

  4. Hi Trodvies
    I am a winner of DV 2023 with case number 2023AS31xxxx and I am from Nepal. I filled out my DS-260 form in May 23,2022. Can you answer when will they start processing the ds260 form and what are the chances of me getting selected for 2NL?

  5. Greetings sir, and thanks a lot for all the info.
    Last month I emailed KCC regarding the status of my case and they told me my forms were received and are currently being process that I should allow several weeks… Does it mean I stand a chance of receiving my 2NL? My case number is pretty high AF55xxx

    1. You’re welcome!

      Yes, you do. AF is current. That gives you a chance. But whether you’ll actually be scheduled now depends largely on the working situation of your embassy.

      1. Hello,

        My sister and her family won the 2022 DV lottery, they were interviewed on Sept 1st but their medical results were still not available. They asked them to submit them before the end of Sept 30 which they did on the 26th. They said their case needs administrative process and they will be contacted. They still have not been contacted, It’s passed the the fiscal year, is there a chance for them to still receive a visa or they are now out of luck because the deadline has passed. If they are out of luck can they try to apply again this year?

  6. Hi! And best wishes and high hopes to everyone. Im reading a lot but noone explains it better than you. I won DV2023 lottery (for EU region). My case number is 2023EU000304XX. VB cut off for Europe for May 2022 is @27000. I have just submitted my DS-260. What are the odds that I will be invited for the interview, i.e. that there will be available visa number for my case number, and if so, when would I potentially learn? Do you have any advice in my case? Your help will be truly deeply appreciated.

    1. Hi Nihad:

      Congratulations on your selection! And thanks for stopping by and for the compliments.

      From what I see, there’s a lot you have to understand regarding the process ahead. For example, the VB cutoff for May 2022 which you mentioned does not concern you in any way. Your selection is for the upcoming (2023) fiscal year which begins in October. That is when those like you who were just selected will begin to be concerned by the VB.

      Also, considering that you will not be interviewed before this time next year (which I guess you didn’t know before), it was quite too early for you to have submitted your DS-260. Anyway, in my upcoming article, I will touch on a number of points which I guess you’ll find helpful. It’s expected this weekend so look out for it.

      1. Thank you so much for such a fast response and your enthusiasm. It is hard to fathom that people like you with knowledge like yours are a true beacon in this cobweb of often scarce and incomprehensible information. I hope I didn’t mess up too much by sending my DS-260 so early. 🙁
        Finally, I’d hope for some comforting news: in your opinion what are my odds at getting the appointment given my case number? Thanks again and keep up the great work!!

        1. Hi Nihad, and thanks for the opportunity afforded me to consider your case specifically. And once again, your compliments are greatly appreciated!

          To answer your questions:

          Simply sending your DS-260 would not mess up things. What determines whether things were messed up are the answers provided on the form as well as if it wasn’t submitted respecting the ‘normes’. For example, were ‘all others’ who should have been included, included? That I can not tell. I’m mentioning this because the DS-260 goes through processing (which includes a kind of review/examination) at KCC and abnormalities discovered are not only flagged, but also forwarded to the interviewing officer which most often creates surprises for applicants at their interview. So if the form was submitted ‘completely’, then there shouldn’t be any problem.

          As for the appointment, your case number is a high one in your region. High case numbers have lower chances of being interviewed. But that doesn’t rule out that you could still be interviewed. One thing that could play out in your favor is your region going current especially considering that your form has already been submitted.

          Rgarding my next article, it is a bit late, but it is nearing completion. I’m not including the details that I had intended to include – yet. That will come later. Based on our conversation, I decided to first reiterate a piece of advice that I give my clients, which you did not know before now and which I believe every Diversity Visa selectee needs to be aware of. After getting that message out, I will provide the details – in a subsequent article.

  7. Hello Sir:
    I want to know two things regarding the affidavit of support, is like a two questions!

    1 After the completion of the affidavit for a DV winner will the affidavit be sent to both the Applicant/ Winner and U.S Embassy EMAILS or only to the Applicant/ Winner EMAIL?

    2 If two persons joint to do the affidavit for a DV winner will they send the affidavit separately or send it as one? Meaning if John and Mary joint to do an affidavit, will Mary sent her own separately and then John sent his own separately or the both will just send it as one?

    1. 1. Only to the Applicant/Winner who must take it along to the interview in case it is requested.

      2. The forms are filled out separately; each person has to send the form that concerns him/her.

  8. Hello sir, can you Clearfield a doubt for me? The Visa bulletin is currently in my case number which is AF60**** plus and I haven’t received any request email for documents since I did my DS 260, middle Aug 2021. How long will it takes to get request mail since my case is current at the Visa bulletin.

    1. Hi Roosevelt:
      Since December 9, DV 2022 applicants like you are no longer required to send in their documents. So you will not receive the document request email you’re expecting. Once you’ve submitted your DS 260, you are eligible for interview. But there are issues that the DV program has been facing as explained here: https://youtu.be/c_1i8ByLwqI

      1. Thank for the information, but how can I know my interview date, since KCC is not requesting for supporting documents from dv 2022 applicants or winners?

      2. Thanks for explaining the process. The only thing that is not (and it’s never, nowhere) clear is: when is the email requesting documents sent? I am case 2022AS9***, submitted 260 last june beginning, receive instructions by KCC to send scanned documents only when prompted by them. Request for documents never came,y case will be current in June. So according to your explanation, in June they should schedul my interview, but you also say that the interview can’t be scheduled until they receive my documents… Could you please clarify this?

  9. Good even sir/masam,

    I’m a dv 2021 winner.my case number is 2021AF00058XXX.I’ve summitted my ds260 and order required document . i just want to find out when will be my intervier

    1. Hi Abraham:

      (For the safety of your case, avoid posting your case number exactly as it is. Instead, replace the last 3 digits with XXX as it now appears here.)

      To answer your question, no-one can tell you when or even if your interview will be. And that’s because your program – DV 2021 – is in a terrible state. You may or may not be invited for interview. Read this article – especially the part that talks of “Survival of the Luckiest” – for more insight: https://mydvprogram.com/dv-2021-program-whats-going-on

  10. hi my name is Abenezer, i am a Dv 2022 applicant, i made a slight mistake on my inital application, my birth date is 07 june 2002 but i mistakenly said 02 june 2002 so what should i say on the ds 260 form if i won?

  11. Hi there,
    I am a DV 2021 winner with case number AF 29***. My case number is current for May. I submitted my DS-260 in July, but haven’t recievied any confirmation or further imstruction yet. I have heard other DV 2021 winners were requested to submit documents after sending the DS-260. What should I do ?

    1. Hi Samuel:

      I suppose the submission of your DS-260 resulted in a confirmation page. With that, go ahead, scan and submit your documents. (I guess you already know how to do that). With the time already lost this year, there’s no need to wait further.

      Sorry, I just re-read your comment and realized that you mentioned that you didn’t receive any confirmation. The confirmation is the screen that immidiately follows your submission. If your confirmation page did not appear IMMEDIATELY AFTER you submitted, then it means your DS-260 was NOT (properly) submitted. In such a case, you have to first resubmit the DS-260 – properly.

  12. HI Trodvies and thank you for all the information here. I would like to ask you what does it mean that you should apply for the visa application when your number comes? Does it mean that you should complete the DS-260 when your number is up or you should complete the DS-260 immediately you are announced that you are among the winners and no matter of your number and apply for an interview to your local US Embassy when your number is up? Thank you

    1. Hi Ramona:

      Filling out your DS-260 depends on your case number. It’s never good to rush and fill it out as soon as you’re announced a winner. But also, NEVER wait until your number is up (i.e when your case number is current).

      Best pratice UNDER NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES would be to do so around 4 or 5 months to when your case number is expected to become current. However, that length of time is not advisable in some cases. And remember the piece of advice I mentioned in the article for those with very high CN.

    1. Hi Steve. So sorry for the late response to your question. I’ve been QUITE busy offline of recent, and it’s just today I’m returning here to find your question. So sorry, but I hope my intervention will still serve. I wrote a very explicit article on the subject of the Visa Bulletin. You may access it here: https://mydvprogram.com/what-is-visa-bulletin

  13. Hi, thanks for all the information.
    I’m a dv 2021 winner. My case number is really high it is SA45XX. Currently the VB is on SA800 . Do you think I have any chance to be interviewed?

    1. Hi Angie:

      Thank you for your visit.

      To answer your question, I would say that your case number is indeed a high one. It’s actually among the highest in the SA Region this year. This means that under normal circumstances, the probability of you being interviewed is very low. And with the delay that the program is witnessing this year, it becomes even harder for one to expect case numbers in the vicinity of yours to get interviewed before the end of the fiscal year.

  14. Morning Sir/Madam,
    I’m a dv 2021 winner. My case number is AF60XXX. I’ve submitted my ds260 on October 3rd, 2020. I have two questions:
    1. How many times will I wait to receive the request from kcc to submit my documents?
    2. According the question 1, if kcc doesn’t request me the documents, is it possible to send them the documents?


    1. Hi Joel, and thanks for stopping by.

      1. There is no definite length of time when it comes to waiting to receive the request for documents from KCC. As long as you’ve correctly filled out and submitted your DS-260, just keep on checking your email; the mail shouldn’t take long to show up.
      2. No. Do not send the documents without being requested to do so.

      1. Hello Sir,
        I was selected but when I fill out my DS 260 at the end I am asked for the kcc number. please i need an example of kcc number to know what to put and to be able to submit. Thanks

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