The "Cinderella" DV-2014 Lottery: "Winners" to Get another Dance at the Ball

by Rahul Soni

The U.S. diversity (DV) green card lottery opens on October 2, 2012 and applications can be submitted until November 3, 2012.  This year the U.S. government will register over 100,000 immigrant-hopefuls and issue 55,000 green cards to lucky winners.  Unfortunately, as with many government programs, the DV program has a deceptive appearance of simplicity, but has numerous pitfalls.  These include rigid technical requirements, such as nationality of a country from a limited list published by the Department of State, as well as the need to meet specific education or work experience requirements, which may led to disqualification for many entrants.

So-called lucky “winners” face the biggest challenge after they are notified they have been selected.  Of the 100,021 registrants, slightly more than half will end up disappointed when they discover they are unable to obtain a green card.  The DV program is a “Cinderella visa,” which expires at midnight on September 30, the end of the government fiscal year.  Tens of thousands of entrants therefore find themselves unsuccessful in their quest for a green card every year, unable to reach the finish line by the deadline to complete immigrant visa processing.

Congress recently entertained the prospect of reallocating the 55,000 DV lottery green cards to “STEM” graduates, foreign-born students who are awarded a U.S. advanced degree in a subject area of Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics.  While there is no question that the U.S. needs to make facilitating immigration of STEM graduates a priority, eliminating the DV program would deteriorate diversity as a critical aspect of United States immigration.  The DV program is a mechanism that allows America to remain the melting pot that has made it a great nation.  Removing this pathway to permanent residence diminishes the diversification that the wide array of immigrant-hopefuls from the DV program offer to our country.  Moreover, the DV lottery keeps the “American Dream” alive, providing hope to so many individuals worldwide, who would otherwise have none.

For now, the DV lottery remains open, and it has even widened its gates to include natives of Guatemala, who are now eligible to enter.  For further details on eligibility for this year’s lottery, please click here.

Every year, Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group receives many calls from devastated “winners” – brokenhearted Cinderellas whose glass slippers were never found.  While not every lottery entrant needs a lawyer, most “winners” will benefit by consulting with an attorney who can help navigate some of the complex issues, in order to help find their true love – a Permanent Residency Prince.

For an article on some of the complex issues regarding the DV lottery program, click here.

About The Author

Rahul Soni is a senior law clerk at Wolfsdorf Immigration Law Group and can be reached at

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) alone and should not be imputed to ILW.COM.