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Opinions of Saturday, 8 October 2016

Columnist: Acheampong, Emmanuel Opoku

US visas: things you must know in registering for dv-2018 lottery - Part 1

Introduction
Once again, registration for the DV lottery is right upon us. This year’s DV lottery registration is called the DV-2018 lottery. The name DV-2018 lottery does not imply that registration for entries will be done in 2018. It only means that while entry for the lottery will be done in 2016, you are entitled to apply for visa issuance only during U.S. government Fiscal Year 2018, which spans from October 1, 2017, through September 30,
2018. This article attempts to discuss certain information you must know to help you make a valid and proper entry for the lottery.

When can I register for the lottery?
Registration for DV-2018 opened on Tuesday, October 4, 2016, and runs through to Monday, November 7, 2016. You must submit your entry for the DV-2018 program electronically at dvlottery.state.gov. You can make your entry at any time within this period. You are advised to file your entry on time. Do not wait until the last week of the registration period to enter, as heavy demand may result in website delays. You can file only one entry during this registration period. If you submit more than one entry, your entry will be disqualified.

Retain your confirmation page for your records
You must retain your confirmation page for your records. You must retain your confirmation page, even if someone helped you to file your entry. After you submit a complete entry, you will see a confirmation screen that contains your name and unique confirmation number. Print this confirmation screen for your records. If someone helped you, you should be present when your entry is prepared so that you can provide the correct answers to the questions and retain the confirmation page and your unique confirmation number. It is extremely important that you retain your confirmation page and unique confirmation number. You must insist that the person helping you with your entry prints out the confirmation page and hand it over to you.

You must not allow the other person to retain the confirmation page and unique number. Without this information, you will not be able to check if you have been selected. If another person retains your confirmation, they will be able to check your entrant status without your knowledge and consent. If they find out that you have been selected, they may require you to pay some exorbitant fee, or set conditions for you, including insisting that dependents be included in your application.

Is it advisable for someone to help me file my entry?
You are encouraged to complete the entry form yourself, without a “visa consultant,” “visa agent,” or other facilitator who offers to help. Some agents may claim that they can get special attention for your lottery registration if you pay them to handle it. Others may claim that your chances of being selected will be increased if the entry is filed on your behalf by someone resident in the U.S. There are no truths in these claims. However, provided that you retain your confirmation page, there may be nothing wrong in paying an agent to help you complete the registration according to instructions. Yet, that is the only help they can offer; but no more.

Ensure that your entries are error-free
Ensure that you have entered correct and accurate details on the entry form. If someone helped you complete the form, make sure all details entered are correct before they submit it. Errors frequently occur with names, dates of birth, places of birth, etc. Considering the time constraints involved in processing DV visas, Consular Officers (CO) may not be sympathetic to even minor errors made at the time of your entry.

To be sure that your name, date of birth, or place of birth corresponds to that in your passport or other document, ensure that you have them at hand at the time of making the entry. This will enable you to cross-check for possible errors.

To be continued…

By Emmanuel Opoku Acheampong

Disclaimer: This article only provides general information and guidance on U.S. immigration law. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. The writer will not accept any liability for any claims or inconvenience as a result of the use of this information. The writer is an immigration law consultant and a practicing law attorney in Ghana. He advises on U.S., UK, and Schengen immigration law. He works for Acheampong & Associates Ltd, a law firm in Accra. He may be contacted on acheampongassociatesgh@gmail.com or www.acheampongassociates.com.