Some are faced with the fact that they started participating in the drawing of green cards as a free person, but got married during the lottery process or after winning. In this case, it is worth familiarizing yourself with several nuances of such a change in marital status.
The question of marital status in DV is one of the critical ones – a mistake can lead to disqualification.
Some people, for example, choose “legally separated” when they are actually married but live separately. If the divorce is not legally registered, it is null and void. In addition, if you indicate that you are married, although you are only planning or expecting to get married before the results are announced, this may also result in disqualification. It is imperative to take this matter seriously and write as it is.
The process depends on the exact timeline between registration for the lottery (approximately October), the announcement of the results (May), the date of the interview (depending on the order) and the expiration of the DV results (September 30 of the following year).
Entry of an unmarried couple to the DV lottery
First of all, if you are not married, you cannot list your partner as a spouse. Of course, you can take part in the green card lottery separately from each other, and if either of you wins, there is the possibility of getting married to get the advantage of a visa (and then a Green Card) for the other partner. Just keep in mind that each main candidate (winner) must meet the requirements on their own.
If you are not married, but you have children in common with your partner, then both applications from you as participants must include records of children.
Option 1: Marriage after registration, but before the results are announced
So, you got married, and then you found out that you won the green card. In this case, you just need to fill out the DS-260 form as a married couple.
Be prepared for a little background check – even people who have been married for many years are asked about marriage during interviews. To be more prepared, stock up on some evidence. But more about them later.
Option 2: Marriage after the announcement of the lottery results, but before the interview
There is nothing wrong with that if the relationship is real. In fact, in some cases it is even reasonable. But there is one “but”. Winning the DV lottery is a huge opportunity. And there are many people who have tried to manipulate the system to get two green cards based on a fictitious marriage.
Therefore, the couple must be prepared to demonstrate the true nature of the marriage. Especially if they intend to move to the United States from a country where fraud is common.
If you plan to get married soon after the results are announced, postpone filing DS-260 until you are / are married. This is necessary so that you can include your spouse in the questionnaire.
If you have already sent the DS-260 and are married while awaiting an interview, you can ask the visa application center to unblock your profile (it is best to use email for this), and then change it by adding a spouse and indicating your new marital status. It is better to attach a scan of the marriage certificate to the e-mail with a request to unblock the questionnaire.
If the marriage occurs after the case has been referred to the embassy for an interview, you should still inform the visa center as a precautionary measure. But it is necessary to inform the embassy about the changes directly. In some cases, you will need to contact the embassy or ask the visa application center to contact them on your behalf to add your spouse to your interview schedule.
Option 3: Marriage after the interview, but before entering the United States and before the lottery results expire
This is still technically possible, but unreasonable. The process includes contacting the embassy that handled your case. However, this is a very risky strategy, as the embassy may delay the response, the waiting time will expire, the visas will expire, and so on. A much more preferable option is to indicate the date of the upcoming marriage before the interview.
Option 4: Marriage after the interview and after entering the United States, but before the end of the DV (September 30)
It is a rarity. So rare that it will hardly be technically possible / legal. It is possible to try to change the information in a derivative case, but it will be very risky, since the receiving party will rightly wonder why you have not addressed this issue before. You will give them serious doubts that the relationship is real.
Option 5: Marriage after DV expiration (September 30)
Alas, this situation no longer falls under the DV lottery rules. You will need to follow the traditional immigration process, which is slower and more expensive.
Proof of relationship
How can you prove that the relationship is genuine? This is mainly a demonstration of living together and a large amount of documentary evidence. These may include the following:
- photographs / emails / joint invoices for the period before marriage;
- photographs or other evidence of the wedding ceremony itself;
- joint financial documents such as general bank accounts;
- knowledge of information about each other, about other family members of the spouse and so on.
If the host country has doubts, you have the right to be denied a visa without the possibility of an appeal.