DV Lottery Winners: Remember to File for AOS in the U.S.

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While following filing instructions is very important, so are your actions after you win. It’s important to file for AOS (Adjustment of Status) in the U.S. rather than applying for it overseas in a U.S. consulate. Applying at a U.S. consulate overseas means risking denial.


Adjustment of Status

AOS means the change of immigration status from nonimmigrant to immigrant, if the applicant is able to meet all required qualifications for a green card. Only those in the U.S. on valid nonimmigrant status can go through AOS. Those adjusting their status can get their green cards while in the U.S. and they need not go to their home countries to complete visa processing. DV lottery winners in the U.S. can apply for adjustment of status while in the U.S. by filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

Consular Processing

Consular processing is an alternative option to applying for AOS in the U.S. It is for people who are outside of the U.S. It allows them to obtain their visa while overseas and enter the U.S. as a permanent resident.

If you do win and you apply for AOS in a U.S. consulate overseas, you risk being on the receiving end of a possibly arbitrary decision by a consular authority. And unfortunately, a consulate’s refusal of a visa is not appealable.

The only option, if your application is denied and you feel that it shouldn’t have been, would be to file a lawsuit in the U.S., which can be quite costly.

Furthermore, a denial made by a U.S. consulate can have bad consequences for you in the future, should you choose to apply again. Even if you apply in the U.S. for the following times, they may look to the initial denial and continue to not grant AOS.

As you can see, if you are a DV winner, it is incredibly important to file for AOS in the U.S., and not in a U.S. consulate overseas. You have less protection is you apply overseas, and can be subject to the possibly arbitrary discretion of a consular worker.

It’s much better to be safe. Always apply for AOS in the U.S. if you can.

Updated – April 2, 2018