Now that you’ve won the Lottery, what’s next?

With a week gone since the DV 2021 Lottery results were published, the ‘dust’ from the release of the results seems to have settled. Many DV 2021 entrants now know their fate; the rest of the DV process awaits those who were selected. As the selection notification letter (NL1) indicates, “Selection does not guarantee that you will receive a (Diversity) visa”. It is therefore time for selectees to put your house in order, to ensure that they eventually receive one of the DVs available for the upcoming fiscal year.

What to do now?

As has been observed over the past days, most selectees have been in a haste to submit their official Immigrant visa application (i.e. fill out their DS-260) since they’ve been told that that is in fact the next step in the process; and believing – perhaps – that the sooner they do, the quicker their visa interviews will be. But that isn’t necessarily the case.

Though it is true that the next necessary action on the part of selectees is to fill out the DS-260, most times, rushing to do so causes them to leave out things they should have included or respond to a number of questions incorrectly, just to later realize their error, and begin to seek out ways to correct them.

Although nothing prohibits selectees from filling out your DS-260 right after their selection, why not ‘slow down’ and consider a number of issues before submitting? After all, most interviews are still months and months away.

Unless you know the DV process inside out, the proper thing to do right after being selected is to fully understand the rest of the process. I’ve observed sadly that many don’t understand what the process is like even after being selected .

So, my advice to selectees would be to first seek to understand the rest of the process to avoid future headaches. Then you can proceed with your application after that.

How the process works

To have a clear understanding of what the rest of the process entails, you must consider your case number which is mentioned in your selection notification letter (NL1). That is the ultimate determining factor of when your visa interview will actually be.

The lower your case number in your region, the sooner your interview will be in the upcoming fiscal year. And the higher your case number in your region, the later your interview will be.

IMPORTANT: The earliest interviews (of those with the lowest case numbers in their region) for the DV-2021 Program will start in October 2020, at the beginning of the 2021 U. S. fiscal year; and interviews for the Program will come to an end around the end of that same fiscal year (in September 2021). And case numbers which are very high in their region may never be scheduled for interview because the 55,000 Diversity visas available for the 2021 Program may get exhausted before such cases are served. Remember “Selection does not guarantee that you will receive a visa . . .”

Your case and the Visa Bulletin

If you aren’t familiar with what low and high case numbers are in your region, then try to get acquainted with the Diversity Visa section of the Visa Bulletin (VB). That will give you an idea of when your visa interview is going be.

Your case number will normally be interviewed around the time when case numbers in the vicinity of yours were interviewed in recent years – could be a month earlier or later – unless there is a major change in the process which could result in the expansion or contraction of the monthly cut-off numbers.

Note: See the summary of the most recent Visa Bulletins from all regions in this article of ours for relevant indications.

I personally expect the high case numbers trend experienced this year to continue in the upcoming fiscal year. I’ve observed that VB trends usually run for at least two consecutive years before they are readjusted. Example of this are the VBs from Fiscal Year 2018 and 2019. So I expect much proximity between the ones to be published in FY 2021 and those published in FY 2020.

Consult the summary, and observe the Visa Bulletin for FY 2020, and see the month during which case numbers in the vicinity of yours became current; yours will most likely be scheduled around the same time in the upcoming fiscal year.

Other things to consider

There are other issues to take into consideration before running off to fill out your DS-260.

Ask yourself whether you’re ‘set’ to depart your current location without causing embarrassment to your plans. Don’t you have some ‘project’ ongoing that you would need to complete before emigrating? You may well want to ‘delay’ your interview to take such projects to completion before ‘activating’ your application process.

Also consider your case number – especially if it is high – and see whether an early submission of your DS-260 which would prompt the sending in of your required documents will not cause your police certificate to expire and result in you having to acquire a new one before your interview, for example?

Will an early submission not cause such inconvenience for you, apart from the possibility of errors in your form?

These are some of the things you must consider before filling out the DS-260.

Because everyone else is filling out and submitting their DS-260 at once doesn’t compel you to do the same. Consider your personal situation and your individual confirmation number before approaching the application process to avoid inconvenience later along the way.

When you are okay with these issues and possibly others, then you may well take that next step of filling out your DS-260.

How to access the DS-260

A number of selectees have been asking how to access the DS-260 form. To do so, click on the first link provided in your NL1 or copy and paste it into your browser and hit the Enter key. Any of these actions will take you to the State Department official website, travel.state.gov.

Once there, click on SUBMIT YOUR IMMIGRANT VISA AND ALIEN REGISTRATION APPLICATION, under “Diversity Visa Program”. On the page that opens, scroll down and locate the FORM DS-260 link. Click on it. That will take you to the CEAC website where you should click on DS 260 in the Immigrant section, to finally get to the log in page. You will need your case number to access the form.

Wishing you good luck as you first assess your reality before submitting your official immigrant visa application.

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