If a green card lottery winner plans on bringing their family back home with them to the United States, they may be in for a long journey. To do this, they must meet certain qualifications and guidelines about what type of family member is allowed into the U.S.
Green card holders that plan on immigrating with their immediate family members (spouse and children) will be able to apply directly for an immigrant visa at the US Consulate abroad without having to wait for their priority date to become current under INA Section 203(a)(2)(B).
Otherwise, if the winning entrant did not include their spouse or child’s name when filing for entry, then they can file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative to start the family immigration process.
The petitioner must be a citizen or permanent resident of the USA and they can file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relatives on behalf of their spouse, children, parents. Other types of family members will not qualify at this point because there is no visa category for them to immigrate under.
Then, if the green card holder wins a visa number through the green card lottery, they should immediately notify the National Visa Center by sending Form G325A. To obtain more information about immigrant visas from NVC, please review ” Green Card Lottery – Immediate Family Members”.
Green Card Lottery – Immediate Family Members
What is the Green Card lottery? The green card lottery, also known as the “diversity visa program,” offers 50,000 permanent resident cards (green cards) to citizens of countries that have low rates of migrating to the USA.
Please note that green card lottery winners will need to meet eligibility requirements to immigrate and adjust their status in the US with a green card.
How does the green card lottery work? To apply for the green card lottery, interested applicants must register with their respective country’s official government website and gather all required documents before submission; this includes proof of education or employment, photo and family information etc.
You can see how it works in detail on our page covering How Green Card Lottery works and What are the requirements for the DV-Lottery 2016?
Can I Bring My Family If I Win the Green Card Lottery?
Yes, green card lottery winners are allowed to bring their entire immediate family with them into the United States. The definition of “immediate family” is as follows: spouse and unmarried children who are under 21 years old or, regardless of age, are “incapable of self-support”. Please note that it can take up to 7 months to obtain immigrant visas for applicants’ eligible relatives.
Also, note that not every applicant will be able to choose their family members during visa selection (the system chooses randomly), so there’s no guarantee that you would be able to pick your family members even if you win the green card lottery. If this is the case, you will need to explain why your family members cannot get an immigrant visa on their own.
What Countries Participate in the Green Card Lottery?
Every year, the green card lottery is open to citizens of eligible countries who meet eligibility requirements. In 2016, DV Lottery is open to all individuals worldwide except for the following:
- Nationals of Canada
- Individuals born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan
Can I Immigrate Without a Job If I Win the Green Card Lottery?
No. If you win the Green Card lottery and do not have a qualifying offer of employment from a US company or entity at the time your immigrant visa application package is submitted for processing, you will not be able to use that initial employment opportunity as a basis to obtain an EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa.
This would then require becoming self-employed while living in the United States.
What if I win the Green Card lottery but cannot come to America because I have a criminal conviction? You must become aware of your inadmissibility before traveling to the US or submitting your green card lottery entry, because certain crimes may make you ineligible for a green card lottery.
This includes “crimes involving moral turpitude”, which are defined as “any alien who has been convicted of any offense that involves moral turpitude”, including misdemeanors are also considered inadmissible if they involved illegal drugs, sexual abuse against minors below the age of 16 etc.
Can Someone Help Me Fill Out My Green Card Lottery Entry Form?
Unfortunately no. While there are companies selling coaching services helping with the green card lottery, they are not allowed to help you with your green card lottery entry form.
Can I Win the Green Card Lottery If I Am Unemployed?
You can enter the green card lottery even if you are unemployed. If you win, you would need to have a job offer before immigrating to the United States.
If I Win the Green Card Lottery, Do I Have to Go Through Medical Tests?
Yes. If you are selected in the visa lottery program you would need to prove that you do not have any communicable diseases that could pose a threat to public health or safety nor be ineligible for entry into the United States based on criminal history.
What Does it Mean That My Family Members Cannot Get Immigrant Visas on Their Own?
This means that when your family member’s visa packages are submitted for processing, they will be included in your package and randomly selected along with yours for either a visa stamp or visa denial. The only exceptions would be in cases where:
- You and/or your family members living abroad due to military service in the USA Armed Forces.
- The consulate interview is unlikely to reveal grounds of inadmissibility, which means you will be denied entry even if your family member is allowed.
- You are eligible for an immigrant visa but cannot use your family member as the basis for eligibility because they have a criminal conviction or were previously denied admission to the US.
What Happens If I Win the Green Card Lottery and Cannot Afford My Medical Insurance?
In case you win the green card lottery and do not have health insurance from any US healthcare provider when your visa application package is submitted for processing, you will need to buy a private health insurance policy that would cover yourself and your dependents during the entire time you live in the U.S.
Such a policy should meet the minimum standards outlined by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and cannot be more than one year.
What is the difference between the Green Card lottery and family immigration? Entering the green card lottery does not entitle you to live in the United States permanently, but once your visa is selected and you get a permanent resident status (Green Card), it allows you to reside and work in the US for any legal purpose.
A family member immigrating to the US on their own will need either a job offer or money of their own before starting the process.
Also, immigrants already residing in the USA with some form of temporary legal status can bring their families along using family-based immigration categories that do not include employment requirements such as F2A: Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old of U.S citizens K3/K4: Unmarried children over 21 years old of U.S citizens F1/F2: Children, spouses and minor unmarried sons or daughters of green card holders L-2: Spouses and minor children of green card holders.
For more information, you may ask or consult with Houston immigration lawyers.