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Diversity Visa (DV-2020) Update

On September 4, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted preliminary relief in part in Gomez, et al., v. Trump, et al., and ordered the State Department to immediately undertake good-faith efforts to expeditiously process and adjudicate, issue, or reissue visas for DV-2020 diversity visa applicants and their beneficiaries by the September 30, 2020 deadline. The Department of State noted that DV-2020 applications may be processed in embassies and consular posts where local health conditions and resources allow. 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 by reaching out to that post directly.

The State Department will use the following plan for prioritizing the processing of applications, consistent with the court order and applicable law:

  1. Individuals who were named plaintiffs in Gomez v. Trump and its companion cases;

  2. Applicants who had already been interviewed who seek reissuance or to overcome a prior refusal;

  3. 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;

  4. 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.

DOS also noted that although DV-2020 applicants may be issued an immigrant visa under the court order, DV visa recipients must also meet an exception to Presidential Proclamation 10014 in order to travel to the United States on the issued visa while the Proclamation is in effect (it is set to expire December 31, 2020, unless extended). If a DV-2020 applicant’s visa expires before the expiration of PP 10014, they will be unable to enter on that visa unless exempt from PP 10014. Additionally those applicants cannot be issued a new visa after September 30, 2020. DV applicants that were in the U.S. or held a valid immigrant visa, on April 23, 2020 are considered exempt from PP 10014. Applicants who held DV visas on April 23 but were unable to travel and have since had their visas expired, may be reissued a DV visa before the September 30, 2020 deadline.

More information and updates from the Department of State concerning its actions as a result of the court order can be found here. This guidance is likely to change as the parties to the litigation continue to work on methods to ensure the State Department complies with the spirit of the judge’s order.

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