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Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group Do I need an immigration lawyer for the lottery? Bernard P. Wolfsdorf Attorney at Law Certified Immigration Law Specialist.

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Presentation on theme: "Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group Do I need an immigration lawyer for the lottery? Bernard P. Wolfsdorf Attorney at Law Certified Immigration Law Specialist."— Presentation transcript:

1 Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group Do I need an immigration lawyer for the lottery? Bernard P. Wolfsdorf Attorney at Law Certified Immigration Law Specialist State Bar of California PAST PRESIDENT AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ASSOCIATION (AILA) During the seminar: Please use your “Chat” function to ask questions © 2011 Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group (all rights reserved). The contents of this document are proprietary and should not be duplicated or shared without the express permission from Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group. October 3,

2 Topics of Discussion What is the Diversity Visa Lottery and how does the Program work? Who can participate? What to do once you have been selected? Common issues and problems October 3,

3 General Overview Immigration Act of 1990 created the permanent diversity program Rationale was to ''further enhance and promote diversity'' of immigrants Selection by lottery One entry per person submitted online Annual window for applications – DV-2013 registration period from noon (EDT) October 4, 2011 until noon (EDT) November 5, 2011 No government fee to register for the DV program Deceptively simple - rigid enforcement of regulations, with high rates of disqualification October 3,

4 Requirements for Entry Applicant must be a “native” of a qualified country Applicant must meet either the education or work experience requirement of the DV Program. October 3,

5 Visa Allocation Under DV Visa Program 55,000 visas issued annually (5,000 under NACARA) Very complicated formula based on region & country of chargeability Six regions: Africa, Europe, Asia, S. America, Oceana, and N. America Restrictions:  Fewer visas for higher-admission regions (those with more than 1/6 of worldwide LPR admissions over previous 5 years)  Excludes natives of high admission countries (> 50,000 LPR admissions over previous 5 years)  No single country may receive > 7% of total DV visas October 3,

6 Visa Allocation Under DV Visa Program Continued Natives of following countries ineligible for DV-2013 Visa Program: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Columbia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam Natives of South Sudan, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are eligible October 3,

7 Chargeability Under DV Visa Program Three methods to determine “native” country:  Applicant’s country of birth: most common method  Spouse’s country of birth: if applicant from ineligible country  Parent’s country of birth: if applicant was born in an ineligible country of which neither parents were born nor resident at time of applicant’s birth (Missionary Exception) Always check applicant’s country of birth at time of application (not birth); at the time born it may have been Germany but now US recognizes place born as Poland. State Department determines; dependent areas or colonies charged to controlling state, except Hong Kong and Northern Ireland. Hong Kong is not part of China for the green card lottery October 3,

8 Chargeability continued Cross-charging from a non-eligible country to an eligible country. Applicant born in Brazil (non-eligible) whereas spouse born in South Africa. Both apply as South Africans. Brazil not eligible whereas last year 50,000 Africans where registered (Africa takes half of all diversity visas). Cross-charging to overcome per country limitations. Applicant born in Egypt which (commonly exceeds 7% per country limitation but spouse born in South Africa. Both must apply as South Africans as the South African per country limitation is not oversubscribed. Cross-charging from a lower allocation region to a higher allocation region. Applicant born in Argentina but spouse born in South Africa. South America got only 2,002 visas allocated whereas Africa got 50,000. With 25 times as many visas allocated the chance of success increased 25,000% by applying under the African quota. Cross-charging to overcome rapid visa exhaustion. Applicant born in Ethiopia or Uzbekistan but spouse born in Swaziland with relatively few applicants. Both should apply under the Swaziland quota since both of these countries per country limitation is frequently oversubscribed. CONFUSED YET? October 3,

9 High School Education or Equivalent Only required for principal applicant Completion of twelve-year course of elementary and secondary study “Foreign Education Credentials Required” – Dept. Of State guidebook with country-specific information on education certificates Vocational degrees that are not considered a basis for further academic study will not qualify Degree evaluations required for adjustment of status interviews but not for consular interviews October 3,

10 Work Experience Alternative to high school diploma Within the five years of the date of application, must have at least two years of work experience in an occupation which requires at least two years of training or experience Current occupation must be classified in a Department of Labor (DOL) SVP range of 7.0 or higher DOL O*Net Online Database October 3,

11 Special requirements for E-DV Entry Form Family Member – Provide information on spouse and all unmarried children under age of 21, regardless of whether they live with applicant or intend to immigrate under the DV program. Exception – spouse or child already a US citizen or permanent resident. Photographs – recent, digital photographs of applicant, spouse and each unmarried child under age of 21, even if child no longer resides with applicant or child will not immigrate under the DV program. Caution: if the digital image does not conform to technical requirements, the E-DV form will be rejected. Designate country of chargeability Indicate highest level of education October 3,

12 The Selection Process Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) sorts the DV entries into six geographic regions and a computer randomly selects entries from each of the following regions: AF: Africa AS: Asia OC: Oceania EU: Europe NA: North America SA: South America, Central America & Caribbean October 3,

13 The Selection Process continued KCC routinely selects over 100,000 “winning” tickets for only 55,000 green cards Within each region, the 1st randomly selected entry will be the 1st registered for that region, the 2 nd selected entry will be the 2 nd registered, so that the case numbers will look like AF , AF , etc. The State Department’s Visa Bulletin publishes the immigrant visa numbers available for DV applicants based on assigned their case numbers per region until the 50,000 visa numbers have been allocated October 3,

14 Were you selected? Starting May 1, 2012, all DV-2013 entrants can check if selected by entering their confirmation number at the E- DV website (www.dvlottery.state.gov) Caution: if you lose your confirmation number you will not be able to check if you have been selected. The State Department does not notify winners by mail or Selectees, their spouses and children must complete the process for obtaining their immigrant visas between October 1, 2012 – September 30, See Blog: Diversity Green Card Lottery Opens October 4 – “The Cinderella Visa” October 3,

15 Consular Processing vs. Adjusting Status October 3, Consular Processing:  DSP-122 and DS-230 Part 1 & 2 and government filing fees submitted to KCC  KCC creates DV IV file for the principal applicant and qualifying dependents.  KCC conducts FBI names checks and submits security advisory opinions where required  Once the applicant’s case number becomes current on the Visa Bulletin, the KCC will schedule an appointment for interview at U.S. Consulate Adjustment of Status:  Must be physically in the U.S. in lawful status  Once number is ‘current’ on Visa Bulletin, principal applicant and qualifying dependents may submit Application Form I-485 with supporting documents and fees to USCIS Applicant  Applicant and qualifying dependents will be interviewed at local USCIS District Office  Must ensure the adjustment application is granted by September 30.

16 Potential Pitfalls Grounds of Inadmissibility and Bars to Adjusting Status.  Applying to adjust status in the U.S. with even one day out of status or one day of unauthorized employment means denial of adjustment of status and possible removal unless have section 245 (i)  If applying abroad and having over 180 days of “unlawful presence” the 3-year bar may apply. This increases to 10 years if over one year of unlawful presence.  Non compliance with the two-year home residence requirement for certain J-1 visa holders.  Criminal convictions, alcohol or drug abuse (and other grounds of inadmissibility) can be grounds for denial.  Visa fraud and misrepresentation and failure to disclose material facts can lead to permanent bars to admission.  Public charge – many winners are rejected based on concerns they will not be able to meet current poverty guidelines. For 2011 a family of four must earn $22,350  Be wary of Internet Fraud and Scams! Many scams are out there. Consider working with a state bar certified specialists in immigration law, if you decide to use a lawyer. October 3,

17 estion and Answer Session Qu estion and Answer Session Please use your “Chat” function to ask questions For follow-up questions : Bernard P. Wolfsdorf, Esq. Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group VISA-LAW nd Street Santa Monica, CA © 2011 Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group (all rights reserved). The contents of this document are proprietary and should not be duplicated or shared without the express permission from Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group. This presentation does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only. The information provided should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed. October 3,


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