Winners only need apply


The information in this section applies to the lucky winners only. It's interesting to read what will happen, but you do not really have to. In this phase, things tend to become a lot more hectic than they were at the time of the application. Well you have won, and now it's time to start planning for a new life in the US. The forum is a very good resource, we'll do our best to answers the questions people have.


Circle Theatre

In the past, I used to receive a lot of emails, but I believe the Forum is a much more powerful tool, since many people will see your questions, interesting discussions start, and you never know who might have the answer.

Once you win, you will receive a wonderful notification letter and an immigration package. It is now time to start collecting papers. But which papers exactly?

Between April and July, you will receive your letter confirming your eligibility to apply for residency in the USA. At the same time you will receive information on how to apply for the immigrant visa, the documents you must submit and the fees to pay.

At this time you should prepare all the documents and submit your application as soon as possible because interviews can start being scheduled in October as soon as the applications are processed.

Paperwork

After your application is processed, you will receive an immigration packet confirming your date for the interview and containing a list of original documents etc… that you must bring with you. It may take some months for the packet to arrive, so be prepared to wait (we didn't receive our packet until February ). The packet is sent 30-60 days before the date of the interview. Your visa will be issued at the positive outcome of your interview on the same day. All DV visas must be issued by September.

Let's not forget that applications are (probably) processed on a "first come first serve" basis, and since many more people than needed are actually drawn, the sooner your application is in, the merrier. So, don't wear that sombrero just yet. Before, you really have to rush to collect the documents that support your application (studies, family, criminal records, etc.).

Get them sent in as soon as possible. Once 50,000 visas are issued the DV for that year is closed. However, don't panic. Even if there are more people chosen than the number of green cards allotted thousands of people are disqualified for filing more than one application, and plenty more for lack of qualifications. So, if you didn't cheat and meet the criteria, you should be reasonably confident.

Nothing is guaranteed, though, and there is no recourse against the State Department.

The document list:
  • Families: all family members must provide the following documents, unless otherwise stated.
  • Passport photocopies.
  • 3 color passport-size pictures.
  • Birth certificate.
  • School and University certificates.
  • Police Certificates - required of you and any family member over the age of 16. You must obtain a certificate from the police authorities of your country of nationality and of the country where you (and other family members) now live if residence in either was more than 6 months. If you or they have lived in other countries for a year or more from when you were 16, then you must obtain police certificates from those countries as well.
  • Court and Prison Records - If you or an accompanying family member has been convicted of a crime, then you are required to obtain and present a certified copy of each court record and any prison record, whether or not there was an amnesty, pardon, or other act of clemency.
  • Marriage Certificate.
  • Military Records, if applicable.
  • Evidence of Support - You must demonstrate that neither you nor your accompanying family members will become a public charge in the U.S. If you do not have a job offer upon entrance to the U.S., this can be shown with 1 or more of the following:
  •     statement from a senior bank officer showing a present balance in your account, date account was opened, number and amount of deposits and withdrawals during the past year, and the average balance during the year;
  •     verification of ownership of stocks and bonds, with present market value or expected earnings indicated;
  •     proof of ownership of property or real estate, in the form of a title, deed or the equivalent, and a letter from a  banker or other knowledgeable official showing its present value; letter from insurance company showing the   cash surrender of policies held. If you have a job offer upon entrance, then you should submit a notarized letter on the employer's letterhead stationery:
  •   containing a definite offer of employment and stating when the job will be available;
  •  describing the requirements of the job, and stating rate of compensation and any other  benefits;
  •  stating where and what type of job it is (e.g., seasonal, temporary, or indefinite).

Documents in a foreign language must be translated by a sworn translator. However, in the package we received it was clearly stated that all documents in Italian needn't be translated. Check what they say in your package and, in doubt, call your Consulate.

When The State Department has processed your application it will send you an Immigration packet, containing your sealed application, information about the interview and the medical check-up and, last but not least, the date for the interview.

In our case, we entered the lottery in Oct, the 1st letter (you have won) arrived in April  and the Immigration packet age arrived in February of the following year,  with the interview fixed for April.


Already living in the US?



A couple that wrote us that was already living in the U.S.A., received the first letter in July and had the interview the following June. They recommend, for those who live already in the U.S.A., not to elect being interviewed here in the USA, as the Immigration offices are overburdened with cases and not particularly aware of the Lottery procedures.

This is particularly true for cities with stretched INS offices (Miami, New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles). The risks are great, because if the interview is not scheduled by the end of September of the fiscal year, you will not be issued a green card.

So, even though they already lived in America, they chose to go back to Italy for their interview. It's a delicate decision, and unfortunately there is no clear answer, although the general consensus seems to be towards the solution suggested here.


Which consulate?

After the arrival of the Immigration packet, your interface becomes the Consulate or Embassy where the interview will be held. The correct Consulate will be indicated in the packet; it isn't necessarily the one closest to your home. You can call them directly with any further questions. In Italy, the people at American Consulate in Naples have always been kind and informative.