Perhaps the second most important piece of information included in a Diversity Visa selectee’s letter of selection – after the clause “you have randomly been selected” – is their case number. So what in essence is case number? How is it determined? What is its importance? . . . among others, are questions this article provides answers to.
Let’s begin by explaining what a Diversity Visa case number actually is.
What is case number in DV Lottery, and how is it determined?
Diversity Visa case numbers actually come about during the selection process. Entries submitted during the DV Lottery are first grouped according to region. Then during the selection process, the entries in each group (region) are randomly assigned consecutive numbers by a computer system. Said numbers remain ‘attached’ to the entries up to the end of the selection process. Entrants who end up not being selected in the process never get to know their assigned number.
Those on the other hand who are eventually selected get to ‘discover’ their assigned number in their letter of selection. It is this ‘assigned number’ from the selection process which eventually becomes – and is henceforth referred to as – the Diversity visa selectee’s case number.
This reality generally results in nonconsecutive case numbers in each region. For example, in a given region, you may have the initial case numbers to be 25, 42, 56, 88, 89, 103, etc. Meaning the mission numbers are actually the case numbers of entries which happened to not have been selected.
Regional Case Numbering Systems
It is worth noting that a case number system exists by region, with each regional numbering system different from the other, owing largely to the number of entrants the regions provide during the Lottery. The higher the number of entrants a region usually provides, the more extensive its case number range; and vice-versa.
For example, the Africa region which usually provides the highest number of entrants to the DV Lottery (See chart) has the most extensive case number range (extending up to more than 80,000 in some years). And North America (comprising only one country) which accounts for the lowest number of entrants every year has the least extensive case number range (highest are double digits); etc.
The length of a case number depends on how extensive its case number range is. Regions with less extensive number range have shorter numbers, while those with more extensive ranges have longer ones. That is why case numbers from regions such as Africa, Europe and Asia are long, while those from North America and Oceania are shorter.
It must also be noted that case numbers can only be ‘compared’ within the same region and not across regions. What is considered a low case number in one region may be a high one in another region; and vice-versa.
Case Number Composition
A case number comprises four parts. The first four digits are the fiscal year in which the selectee is eligible to apply for a Diversity Visa. Those four digits are followed by a two-letter abbreviation of the selectee’s region, then a number of zeros introduced to ensure that all case numbers in that region have the same length; and finally the actual case number.
An example is 2021AF00007506, where 2021 is the fiscal year; AF is abbreviation for the Africa region; then the ‘intervening’ zeros; and 7506 is the selectee’s actual case number.
Note: In some steps during the application process, the applicant is requird to enter his/her case number without the preceeding zeros.
Importance of Case Number
A selectee’s case number dictates at what time in the fiscal year the selectee is to be interviewed. It is paramount in knowing the chances he/she has when it comes to getting scheduled for an interview. Case numbers contribute more to the fate of DV selectees than does their personal effort.
It is true that an individual has duties and responsibilities as a Diversity Visa applicant (read this article for details), but the fact remains that an applicant with a low case number stands a better chance of being interviewed than another with a high case number. All because interviews begin with the lowest case numbers and end with high ones in each region.
That is why an immediate submission of one’s DS-260 upon being selected is not necessarily the key to getting an early DV interview. But understanding the position of one’s case number in his/her region and knowing how to act accordingly always work in the best interest of an applicant’s Diversity Visa case.