As I mentioned in my last article, below are things a Diversity Visa selectee must be aware of and do BEFORE submitting their DS-260.
I insist: You’re not in a race with other applicants to submit your DS-260; case processing and visa interviews are based on case numbers – not on DS-260 submission!
Diversity Visa Interview Reality
It is true that in order for your application to be processed (and your Diversity Visa interview scheduled), your DS-260 must have been submitted. Many applicants understand this as meaning “the sooner you submit your DS-260, the sooner you will be called upon for interview”. But that is not what it means.
Case number order takes preeminence over DS-260 submission in case processing and scheduling of visa interviews. Interviews are scheduled beginning with the lowest case numbers – that have met the requirements – in each region and progress to include higher ones as the fiscal year goes on.
Those interviewed early in the fiscal year are those with low case numbers; those with high case numbers get interviewed late in the fiscal year. Those with relatively low or high case numbers have their interview held somewhere in between; and those with the highest case numbers may never be interviewed. This summarizes the Diversity Visa interview reality.
Did you know?
Let’s consider this example: An applicant with case number EU15000 submits his DS-260 a week after the results are released in May. Another with case number EU5000 submits his three months later – in mid-August. Those with little knowledge on how the DV program works would expect the DS-260 submitted in May to be processed and possible scheduled for interview first.
But no! It’s rather the one who submitted in mid-August that will be processed and scheduled first. His case number will ‘set’ his interview in November or December, whereas interview for the one who submitted first but with a higher case number will be expected from March to May in the new year.
That’s the fact!
So you see: early submission of one’s DS-260 doesn’t guarantee an early processing of one’s application/case; nor does it ensure an early interview. KCC will not have cases for early interview in the fiscal year, and leave them to process those to be scheduled much later. That wouldn’t make sense!
So, many – if not most – of the DS-260 submitted in a rush right after the results are released actually go untouched for several months. KCC at that point are ‘in search of’ only applicants whose case numbers ‘qualify’ them to be scheduled at the beginning of the fiscal year.
It has been observed that most DV selectees who submit their DS-260 in a rush do not read the instructions regarding the process. There’s a link to the Bureau of Consular Affairs official website in applicants’ selection notification letter. Unfortunately most selectees fail to click it or don’t even realize that it is there. I know this from the number of selectees who go about asking for the process ahead after being selected.
Had they taken the time to click that link expressedly included in their letter, they would have landed on the page that displays the diagram depicting the DV program process. That’s the place to begin after you’re selected. Not only does it show you where you are and what’s still ahead in the process, each step includes relevant explanation.
Where to begin
So, if you were selected, and you haven’t clicked on the dvselectee link in your selection letter, then do so. Take out the time and read – as you’re doing here – to get familiar with the process ahead. And then go after clarifications for things you don’t quite understand. There are things you do not know and you sure will discover just by doing that. That’s the approach to have in this Diversity Visa thing.
That’s where your process should logically begin and not in submitting your DS-260.
Who – if any – should be rushing?
If at all certain applicants are to rush to submit their DS-260 right after the results are released (in May), it should logically be those with low case numbers. It is their cases KCC are arranging scheduling for at that time. The DS-260s of those with high case numbers submitted at the same time would simply be ‘put aside’ until later in the fiscal year – when they’re needed. It’s not going to have any impact until it their ‘turn’.
That should be enough to convince applicants that submitting one’s DS-260 early doesn’t necessarily help in reaching the goal they had wished to achieve by doing so.
More reasons to not rush
Other reasons why rushing to submit your DS-260 is not called for right after the results are released are as follows:
1. Possibility of committing errors
Quite often we are shocked to see things that we ourselves wrote some time earlier. We’re like “Was it I who wrote this?” . . . after we identify flaws in what we wrote. If that is possible in the case of writing – most times – less than a paragraph, how much more when it comes to filling out a form of several pages.
For God’s sake, it’s ‘sections’ of your life you are requested to reproduce on the DS-260: your education, your work, places you’ve lived, etc. And doing so, there are things you may overlook. That does happen! And more than often – for that matter.
Not including any piece of information when filling out the form – if discovered – could be misconstrued as deliberate on your part and possibly penalized.
2. Possibility of omitting vital information
You are to submit the form for ALL who are eligible applicants in your case. There have been cases where applicants did not know that they were to ADD a new family member to their case, rushed into submitting the form, and later appeared at their interview with the family member in question and were either placed on administrative processing or denied outright.
Had such applicants followed this piece of advice, they may have most likely found out that they had to submit a form for their new family member.
3. Life happens
Some of those who rush into submitting their DS-260 are even aware that there are things they will need to include in the near future because “life happens”. But because of the widespread perception, they submit the form, while having in mind to request KCC to unlock it to include more information that they were very conscious would have come up in their lives.
Interviews for such cases will not be scheduled until they’ve resubmitted the form – after it was reopened. So why don’t they wait and add the piece of information a few months down the road instead of submitting it just for the name?
4. KCC background checks
“Processing of DS-260” involves ‘matching’ the information you provide in the form with your ‘real’ life out there. Nearly everyone has some form of internet presence these days. The DoS is aware of this reality, and KCC uses it as part of the processing of cases. They conduct background checks including on social media and not only flag abnormalities discovered during the process, but also forward them to the interviewing officer which most often creates surprises for applicants at their interview.
Have you taken out the time to ‘verify’ that there’s no contradiction between information you posted onto the internet and what you included in your DS-260? Like in the first case, any discrepancy discovered could be a source of unpleasant surprise at your interview.
Is rushing to submit worth it?
Considering the above, is rushing to submit your DS-260 worth it? Rushing into submitting the form could actually cause you more harm than good. As a prudent applicant, be sure to submit your DS-260 after considering these things.
Let your case number and your life realities dictate when you should really submit the your DS-260.
And after submitting . . .
And even after doing so, know that the process is still not over. The Diversity Visa program is a constantly-evolving environment. New procedures could be introduced at any point in the process; and you will need to govern yourself accordingly.
So don’t submit your DS-260 and “go to sleep”. Remain proactive throughout the process. Keep updated on the latest issues and news, tips and trends – until your visa is finally in your hand.
All the best!
[For the steps ahead after one is selected, read this article.]