Judge Orders State Department To Issue Visas to Lottery Winners

Almost 10,000 winners of the 2020 Visa Lottery program, who could not get their green cards due to the failure to obtain consular interviews, won a court battle this week.

U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta, ruled on Wednesday that the U.S. State Department must process 9,905 visas that were allocated in the 2020 lottery, as soon as possible, and to conclude no later than the end of the 2022 Fiscal Year, or September 30, 2022, according to the order.

The Diversity Visa Program, allocates 55,000 permanent resident cards (Green Cards) to countries with historically low rates of immigration to the U.S. The winners are drawn from through computerized lottery system from qualified entries.

The program’s guidelines require that all winners including their family members, must be issued their visas by September 30 of the program’s fiscal year, which in this case, was September 30, 2020.

But delays around the world at American Embassies and consulates, stemming in large part from the coronavirus pandemic, did not allow the qualified winners to complete the mandatory processing to get the visas.

As a result, diversity winners filed several class action lawsuits against the department of state, both during the Trump era and the current administration.

The State Department issued a statement Wednesday, saying it was aware of the various court orders pertaining to the DV-2020 lottery, as well as the 2021 edition. “We will publish guidance on our website regarding our plan for complying with these orders as it becomes available” officials said.

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