"Winner" of the Diversity Visa Program: A Fairy Tale, reports Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP

PR Newswire

SANTA MONICA, Calif., May 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- On May 1, 2014 the Department of State announced the winners of the 2015 Diversity Visa program. Over 100,000 eager US immigrants were selected. Over 100,000 "winners" with an opportunity to have their fairy tale come true – obtaining a green card.

However, being selected is not the fairy tale the "winners" expect. It is not a ticket to a guaranteed green card; it's really a ticket to another more rigid lottery. Unfortunately, with only 50,000 immigrant visas allotted to the "winners" and their accompanying family members, less than half of the "winners" will actually be issued a green card.

"Winners" must meet basic eligibility criteria before applying for a green card. The principal applicant must have the equivalent of a US high school education, or two years of qualifying work experience in the last five years. A high school education is defined as the "successful completion of a formal course of elementary and secondary education comparable to completion of a 12-year course in the US." Two years of work experience must be in an occupation that satisfies the incredibly high standard articulated by the Department of Labor. The Occupational Code definitions make it virtually impossible for an individual without a high school diploma to qualify.

If the "winner" meets the above criteria, they will face another challenge. Since  lottery "winners" are sequentially processed based on their rank in serial number, candidates with high winning numbers will have a lower chance of obtaining their green card.

The "winners" have until midnight on September 30, the end of the government fiscal year, to complete the processing for this "Cinderella visa."

"Every year I get calls from dozens of immigrants who were convinced they would live the American dream only to have their dreams shattered as they discover this program is deceptively complex," said Bernard Wolfsdorf, a past President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and managing partner for Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP.

Every year, our law office receives numerous calls from devastated "winners" – brokenhearted Cinderellas with a shattered fairy tale dream. Although not all lottery applicants require legal representation, most will benefit from consulting with an attorney who can help navigate the complex issues, and help their fairy tale come true.

Bernard Wolfsdorf 

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