We are happy to report that the Department of State has released an important announcement that describes the agency’s compliance with the recent court ruling, Gomez v. Trump, which orders the government to make good-faith efforts to expeditiously schedule, process, and adjudicate DV-2020 diversity visa applications by September 30, 2020, despite issuance of Proclamation 10014.
In accordance with the court’s ruling, DV-2020 applications are being processed at embassies and consulates as local health conditions and resources will allow during this pandemic.
To proceed with visa processing, applicants must be documentarily qualified (meaning the applicant has obtained all documents specified by consular officials sufficient to meet the formal visa application requirements), have paid all requisite application fees, have the ability to obtain the required medical examination conducted by a panel physician, and demonstrate eligible for a visa prior to issuance.
If a post is unable to process cases due to local health conditions and resource constraints, an applicant may request a transfer to another post.
The Department expects that, due to resource constraints, limitations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and country conditions, it will be unable to accommodate all DV applicants before September 30, 2020.
Acceptance of DV 2020 Visa Applications and Order of Priority
As of September 4, the date of the court’s ruling, DV-2020 lottery winners may apply for and receive a DV visa through the end of the fiscal year which falls on or before September 30, 2020.
DV 2020 lottery winners will be prioritized for visa issuance in the following order pursuant to the court’s ruling:
- Individuals who were named plaintiffs in Gomez v. Trump and its companion cases;
- Applicants who had already been interviewed who seek reissuance or to overcome a prior refusal;
- Applicants who were scheduled for appointments in March, April, or May and whose appointments were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and worldwide suspension of routine visa processing;
- For posts that have additional capacity to process applications and are not exhausted by the three categories above, applicants whose cases are pending with the Department’s Kentucky Consular Center.
Can I travel once my DV-2020 visa is issued to me?
The Department of State has made clear that although the court order allows DV-2020 applicants to be issued an immigrant visa, Presidential Proclamation 10014 which applies to DV 2020 immigrants continues to remain in place and suspends the entry of DV visa holders until December 31, 2020. It is also important to highlight that this Proclamation can be extended by the President if re-elected.
That means that DV visa holders cannot enter with their valid DV visa once issued until the Proclamation is lifted, unless they meet an exception to the Proclamation known as a national interest exception. A national interest exception may be granted if the applicant can demonstrate that their entry would be in the “national interest” for example due to extreme hardship to a U.S. Citizen or where the applicant will work in an essential capacity in the United States. There are numerous circumstances that could qualify an applicant for a national interest exception including:
(1) a public health or healthcare professional or researcher to alleviate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, or to continue ongoing research in an area with substantial public health benefit (e.g. cancer or disease research); OR
(2) to provide care for a U.S. citizen, including alleviating the burden of care from a medical or other institution, or to prevent a U.S. citizen from becoming a public charge or ward of the state or the ward of a medical or other institution; OR
(3) to join an active military member petitioner in the U.S.
We recommend scheduling a consultation to discuss this option.
Click here for information about the national interest exception.
COVID-19 Travel Proclamations Do Not Impact Visa Issuance
In addition, the court ruling in Gomez v. Trump, prohibits the government from enforcing a series of COVID-19 travel related Presidential Proclamations that suspend the entry of individuals who within the last 14 days have been physically present in China, Iran, UK, Ireland, the 26 countries of the Schengen area (European countries), or Brazil.
Accordingly, these presidential proclamations will not have any impact on DV-2020 applicants and will not prevent any DV-2020 lottery winner from receiving a visa.
These Proclamations are as follows:
- China Visa Ban – Proclamation 9984 issued January 21, 2020 – No termination date
- Iran Visa Ban –Proclamation 9992 issued February 29, 2020 –No termination date
- European Schengen Area Visa Ban—Proclamation 9993 issued March 11, 2020—No termination date
- Ireland and UK Visa Ban –Proclamation 9996 issued March 14, 2020 –No termination date
- Brazil Visa Ban—Proclamation 10041 issued May 25, 2020 –No termination date
For a complete list of COVID-19 country-specific proclamations click here.
Other Proclamations in Force that DO Impact DV 2020 Winners
Although the proclamations outlined above will not impact DV-2020 lottery winners, Presidential Proclamations 9645 and 9983 will continue to restrict the issuance of diversity visas to nationals of the following countries unless they qualify for a waiver or a national interest exception: Burma, Eritrea, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Nigeria, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, and Yemen.
DV-2020 visas already issued
DV-2020 applicants whose visas will expire before December 31, 2020 when Proclamation 10014 is currently due to expire, will be unable to immigrate on that visa, unless they are exempt from the Proclamation, and cannot be issued a new visa after September 30, 2020.
DV applicants are reminded that if they were either in the United States, or held a valid immigrant visa on April 23, when Presidential Proclamation 10014 went into effect, they are exempt from the Proclamation.
DV applicants who held valid DV visas on April 23 but were unable to travel and whose visas have since expired, may pay applicable visa fees to have the DV re-issued visa before September 30, 2020.
DV-2020 applicants whose cases were previously scheduled for an interview appointment (even if cancelled) at a U.S. embassy or consulate overseas should reach out directly to that embassy or consulate for further information on their specific case.
As mentioned above, if a post is unable to process cases due to local health conditions and resource constraints, an applicant may request a transfer to another post.
DV applicants can request a transfer by contacting the desired post directly; not all transfer requests will be able to be accommodated.
DV applicants who have responded to requests for documents from the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) and have been notified that their cases are documentarily qualified, but awaiting a visa interview date, will be scheduled in accordance with their rank order and post’s scheduling capacity.
Note for Expiration of Medical Exams
Applicants should be aware that immigrant visas generally expire on the same date as the medical exam expiration – typically 3-6 months from the date of the exam. If you have already had a medical examination and it will expire before December 31, 2020, you may wish to submit a new medical exam before visa issuance.
Non-DV Visa Applicants – Interviews May be Cancelled to Accommodate DV Lottery Winners
The Department of State has stated that embassies and consulates may need to reschedule visa applicants in other visa categories (non-DV) to prioritize visa issuance of DV applicants in compliance with the court order through September 30, 2020.
This means more delays at the consular level for non-DV visa applicants.
Questions? If you would like to schedule a consultation, please call 619-819-9204 or text 619-483-4549. Our toll free number is 866-488-1554.
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For other COVID 19 related immigration updates please visit our Immigration and COVID-19 Resource Center here.