How is the DV Program going?

If you ‘ve read this earlier article of mine, you’d probably be aware of the time of the year we’re currently in: the month of August. That’s when the September visa bulletin which contains information about the first month of the new fiscal year (October) is released. The release is expected in the coming week.

The September Visa Bulletin is one of great importance as it contains information such as the initial regional cut-offs, which enables us to have some idea regarding the chances of case numbers and how the DV Program will be in the upcoming fiscal year.

Had it not been for the crazy world we now find ourselves living in, scheduling of DV-2020 cases would have been completed by now (the final ‘2020 applicants would have been notified of their interview dates up to September 30th), to allow room for those of DV 2021.

Unfortunately, it is all different this year. Instead of the final DV-2020 cases getting set for their interviews, what we have is a state of confusion, with many affected DV-2020 applicants clinging to a fast-diminishing hope as we slowly head toward the September 30th deadline.

Reaffirmation of “Selection does not guarantee . . .”

It has been stated here and perhaps everywhere else that there is not much hope for DV-2020 cases yet to be processed. Seven more weeks, and the DV-2020 program will expire, drowning whatever aspirations affected DV-2020 applicants may still have left.

As if previous indications regarding the fate of DV-2020 applicants were insufficient, the Department of State has reiterated the warning regarding the deadline by posting the following notification as part of Important Notices under the Diversity Visa Instructions section of their official website, something which was not noticed earlier on:

“All DV-2020 entrants who were selected must be found eligible for, and obtain, their visa or adjust status by September 30, 2020. This deadline cannot be extended.”

With such reaffirmation, will the fate of affected DV-2020 applicants change somehow? Certain not for the vast majority. A few cases MAY benefit from the reopening of the very few embassies and consulates which recently resumed or are about to resume normal operations. But nothing substantial, actually.

Hope of a Brighter Near Future

Fiscal Year 2021 is expected to be ‘more peaceful’ than the year before it. As such, DV-2021 applicants stand the chance of having a better application process, in general. With much time in their favor, DV-2021 applicants can expect something better from the DV Program than their immediate predecessors – provided the current decline in cases of COVID-19 continues, and that there be no resurgence of the pandemic.

Submit your DS 260 in case you haven’t

With that expectation, and considering that – as I mentioned in my last article – a blocking or overturning of the extended ban on immigration could play out sooner than expected, it would be prudent on the part of DV-2021 applicants with low regional case numbers to submit their DS-260 if they haven’t done so – to be on the ‘safe side’.

With the gradual reopening of embassies, imagine a scenario where the ban is overturned in the coming few months. This means that the DV Program will return to ‘business as usual’: normal scheduling of interviews will resume. In such a case, those to be ‘served’ first will obviously be those whose case numbers are current, and who would have met the other two conditions i.e. submitting a DS-260 and sending in required documents (for each member of their family).

It is not possible to be scheduled for interview with your DS-260 unsubmitted. Moreover, properly submitting same does not negatively affect your application process. So, why hold back? Except perhaps there’s a more valid reason than just wanting to know the outcome of the legal proceedings.

Better have your DS-260(s) in, while awaiting the outcome of the lawsuits (in case they play out in your favor), than to have a positive outcome at the end of the day and regret not being among the first cases to be processed. With the level of widespread uncertainty characterized by present-day life, who knows for how long a positive outcome of the court cases will be.

So my candid advice to DV-2021 applicants with low case numbers is to submit your DS 260 just in case . . .

For those interested in the DV Program

And to those who are interested in entering the DV Program, I would say, DV-2022 ‘awaits’ you. All things being constant, the Entry period is expected to get underway in just under two months’ time. And if postponed, a number of weeks later.

So get set to enter. As I said to an acquaintance of mine, as long as you have the desire to emigrate to the United States, I encourage you to enter the upcoming (DV-2022) Lottery. Never give up, unless you personally decide otherwise.

And this advice to enter the upcoming Lottery also goes to DV-2021 selectees. It’s a piece of advice I always give to selectees / applicants: until you have your Diversity Visa in your hand, always enter the upcoming Lottery, cos you never know. There are some who ignored this advice and who are presently regretting having done so.

Why refuse something as simple as this? After all, it wouldn’t change your selectee / applicant status.

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