On September 30, 2020, Judge Amit P. Mehta of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the U.S. Department of State to preserve 9,095 visas for 2020 Diversity Visa (DV) lottery winners that have been unable to complete their applications due to an executive order issued by President Trump earlier in the year that banned the issuance of new immigrant visas – including DV visas – through the end of 2020. The stated intent of the executive order is to prevent these news immigrants from entering the U.S. work force while unemployment rates remain high due to COVID-19 shutdowns.
The DV Program is available to foreign nationals from countries with low percentage rates of immigration to the US and makes 55,000 visas available each year through random selection via the DV lottery.
Normally DV lottery winners must complete their visa applications by a September 30 deadline, but the judge’s order extends this deadline. According to reports, the 9,095 DV visas will be added to the number of DV visas already issued by the State Department for FY 2020, but it is uncertain how these DV visas will be allocated until a final judgement is rendered. Additionally, even with the preservation of 9,095 visas, less than half of the available 55,000 DV visas for fiscal year 2020 are expected to be used.
David Hirson & Partners, LLP is monitoring this situation as it develops. Contact us if you have any questions about the Diversity Lottery.