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How are green cards processed?

Green cards are processed through a computer system. Since there is literally millions of green card applications submitted every year, and every application needs careful and strict verification, the effort invested in green card application processing and validation is tremendous.

Submissions are accepted for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program of the next fiscal year; an American fiscal years begins 1st October of the previous year so, for instance, applications submitted in November and December of 2004 would be processed in fiscal year 2006 - November and December of 2005 and the remaining months of 2006. Thus, DV2006 applications will be received this year, 2004.

The Department of State will announce the submission regulations and the dates of opening of submissions prior to initiation of the actual submission process.

Once your application is received, it will be stored in the computer database until the submission process ends and the processing begins. The processing is done at the Kentucky Consular Center. All entries are sorted by regions, and your entry has an equal chance to be selected for the region of your nativity you applied of. At this stage forms are verified and the erroneous ones are rejected, as well as duplicate entries for the same person.

The applications are numbered into cases and submitted to the computer that processes them. A computer lottery is then taken and winning applications are then drawn. The winning applicants are notified and the visa confirmation process proceeds. Winning in the lottery does not mean that you are guaranteed to be issued a visa; additional visa requirements that are in place may apply. As soon as the visa quota is fulfilled and all available visas are issued, the Diversity Immigration Visa Program for that year will end.

The winning applicants would be summoned to their regional US consulate for interviewing, background checks, and paperwork. They will be able to file for immigration petition on grounds of Diversity Immigration - the all-famous green card. This is the final stage before green card visas are issued.

Visas are issued within the fiscal year of application; that is, a green card winner who applies in fiscal year 2005 (real year 2004) will receive their visa in fiscal year 2006, that is, between October 1 2005 and September 30 2006. No corrections or adjustments to diversity visas can be applied after the end of issuing period (midnight September 30 2006). By that time, any and all processing and issuing of diversity visas will cease.

Winning applicants must be eligible under ALL United States immigration laws. Immigration regulations are subject to change from year to year.

The Department of State will only notify the winners of the lottery. Ineligible and disqualified participants would not be notified. Regional consulates and any other US representatives do not have the ability to tell whether your application was selected or not and will not be able to help. The only way to know you've been selected is to receive a notification from your agent or US Department of State.

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