DV Program Now Requires Passport!

Principal applicants must have valid passports

Reminder

A couple of months ago, I wrote an article on a new DV regulation that had come into force. The new procedure involved selectees scanning and sending a number of documents to KCC, a procedure which didn’t exist prior to DV 2019 selection. In that article, I mentioned that we would continue to see one new regulation or the other (every now and then) as long as the DV program exists. You can read that article here.

DS-260 New Question

Today – just a few months down the road – that prediction seems to have become reality in the form of two major additions to Diversity Visa program regulations. Firstly, a new question has been added to the DS-260 form. That question requires selectees to list ALL the social media accounts they have used in the past five years.

Before now, this question was not included in the form. Some selectees were only asked – during their interview – to present Form DS5535 (a separate form which requested social media information) – a surprise to a number of applicants. But this time around, it’s not just directed at a number of selectees; neither is it requested only at the time of interview. On the contrary! Henceforth (from the end of last month), all selectees filling in the DS-260 must respond to this new question.

Just Another Question

Though criticisms from many quarters refer to this measure as an intrusion into selectees privacy and a violation of their rights, officials have downplayed the severity, referring to the procedure as just an extra question added to the existing list of inquiries about entrants/selectees personal information.

Passport Now Required!

Secondly, principal entrants to the upcoming Program (DV 2021) and subsequent ones must be in possession of a valid passport in order to enter the Lottery. According to a release published by the State Department in the Federal Register on Wednesday, this measure aims at reducing the increasing number of fraudulent entries received in recent years. Principal applicants will have to include information such as the passport number, the issuing country, as well as expiration date. The measure does not concern derivative applicants.

The State Department in their release also mentioned that failure to include all required information will mean automatic disqualification. But this clause is not much of an issue because the electronic Entry form is designed in such a way that omission of required information will result in it not being submitted.

The Effect?

I personally believe that the passport-related move will drastically reduce the total number of entrants from more than 20 million to less than half of that number during the next Entry period (October – November this year), as said measure will not only reduce the number of fraudulent entries, but will also be a surprise to most potential entrants who will neither be in possession of a passport nor be prepared to get one during the one-month period.

In addition, many applicants will definitely be removed from the DV process because of their social media activities – posts promoting acts of terror against U.S. targets, links to terrorist groups – to name just a few. Others will voluntarily withdraw from the process, not wanting such ‘delicate’ piece of their lives to be handed over in exchange for possible immigration to the U.S.A. Those who are “clean” however have nothing to fear. Their social media accounts will not constitute a hindrance to their quest to legally reside in America.

Why these measures

As was with others before now, these measures constitute additional screening procedures intended to “separate the goats from the sheep”, in an effort, not only to limit fraudulent entries as mentioned above, but also to rid the program of potential elements of threat to U.S. national security, as well as curtail “open immigration”, a notable goal of the current U.S. Administration.

In conclusion

To summarize, I would say, this is the new face of the DV Lottery: entering it amounts to proving that you are a bona fide citizen of a specific country; and winning it is synonymous with sharing your social media information with the State Department. So, to those not able or prepared to do either, simply ignore the Program.

Or else, begin the process of acquiring a passport as soon as today if you are without one; and monitor your social media activities. If not, you could unknowingly be depriving yourself of your quest for the American dream.

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