DV Lottery 2020 Dilemma: With the Visa Deadline Fast Approaching Will There Be Any Relief?

Welcome back to the Immigration Lawyer Blog, where we discuss all things immigration. In this video, attorney Jacob Sapochnick discusses the dilemma that Diversity Visa applicants are currently facing. What will happen to those who won the diversity visa lottery but are unable to apply for an immigrant visa because of the new proclamation? We answer your questions here and provide other helpful immigration tips. Stay tuned for more information on this topic.


As many of you know the executive order, “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak,” signed by the President on June 22nd suspends the entry of certain H, J, and L non-immigrants until December 31, 2020 and also extends the previous presidential proclamation signed on April 22nd which barred DV lottery winners from applying for an immigrant visa. Those affected by the April order include diversity visa applicants selected in the DV lottery, who are outside the United States as of the date of the proclamation, and otherwise have no immigrant visa or official travel document allowing them to enter the United States.

Q: What is the impact of this proclamation on DV lottery winners outside the country?

Unfortunately, this proclamation has devastating consequences on DV lottery winners currently residing outside the country. The order could potentially eliminate the possibility of applying for a visa based on diversity visa lottery selection, because DV applicants must be approved for a visa before the September 30, 2020 deadline.

Q. Is there any relief for DV lottery winners?


Potentially. On April 27th a class action lawsuit by multiple plaintiffs was filed President Donald Trump, DHS, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, DOS, and DOS Secretary Michael Pompeo, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the April 22nd  Presidential Proclamation arguing that the proclamation interferes with family reunification, violates the INA, the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit asked for a preliminary and permanent injunction (a court order) to block the government from implementing or enforcing the Proclamation on those impacted the April 22nd proclamation including FY 2020 diversity visa lottery winners.

Unfortunately, on May 18, 2020, the district court denied the Temporary Restraining order, which means the government can continue to enforce the April 22nd proclamation until further notice.

It is worth noting that even if the April 22nd proclamation had been blocked by court order, DV applicants would still need to wait for Embassies or Consulates to reopen to obtain their visas.

Perhaps, DV applicants would be able to request an emergency appointment at their local Embassy or Consulate to obtain their DV immigrant visa if the order had been granted. The plaintiffs may appeal the decision by the district court and push the courts to issue the injunction.

Mandamus Lawsuits

DV lottery winners can obtain relief by filing a mandamus lawsuit (either as individuals or as a group) to force the government to provide relief.

A writ of Mandamus authorizes the court to order a remedy. To be successful, a mandamus plaintiff must demonstrate that: (1) he or she has a clear right to the relief requested; (2) the defendant has a clear duty to perform the act in question; and (3) no other adequate remedy is available.

Q: Are there other proclamations that could prevent me from entering?

If the April 22nd order is blocked by the courts, you may still be prevented from obtaining a visa if you are from a country who has been banned from entering due to COVID-19. There are a few presidential proclamations restricting the entry of nationals who have been in the Schengen countries (mostly European countries), Iran, China, Hong Kong, and Brazil within the 14 days preceding entry or attempted entry into the United States. There are also restrictions on the issuance of visas for Nigerian nationals.

For more information about these country travel restrictions please click here.

Q: What if I am a DV lottery winner and I am legally inside the US?

DV lottery winners lawfully inside the U.S. will not be impacted by the April 22nd order. They may apply for their green cards by filing Form I-485 with USCIS.

Helpful links

  • April 22nd presidential proclamation blog post (order extended until December 31st, 2020)
  • June 22nd presidential proclamation blog post (order extends the April 22nd proclamation and adds restrictions for H-1B, H-2B, J, and L visas)


If you have any questions or concerns regarding these updates please contact us at jacob@h1b.biz or text or call 619-569-1768 for a private consultation.

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