I turn to you for help on behalf of a community of 7022 persons from different countries. We were all united by a desire to radically change our lives and the future of our families. We are all participants in the American Diversity Visa (commonly known as Green Card) Lottery. More than 15 million people from all over the world participate in this lottery every year. The chance of winning for a particular person is very low, but we were lucky to succeed!
The principles and conditions of the lottery are clearly regulated by the law, and in order to get the coveted visa, the winner goes through a lot of procedures: filling out forms, preparing and sending scans of tons of documents, passing a medical commission and a subsequent interview in the US Consulate. All this is clearly time-bound and the deadline depends on the end of the fiscal year – September 30. After this moment, it becomes impossible to issue any more Diversity Immigrant visas, extend their term or re-issue them. Each such visa has a limited validity period, which is no more than six months from the date of the medical examination. At the moment when we were undergoing the necessary procedures, the first wave of coronavirus overtook the world. Many embassies have canceled interviews indefinitely. Some of us managed to pass the medical examination and pay for it, but nevertheless the interview was canceled. We began to wait patiently, but the troubles did not end there.
In April 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation temporarily barring legal immigrants from entering the country. At first it seemed that there was nothing wrong with that, because the proclamation period was only 60 days and we still had time until September 30 (the end of the fiscal year). We waited again, without losing hope, but 10 days before the end of the proclamation, it was extended until the end of the year. It was a shock, because everyone understood that we had lost the opportunity to make our dream come true. Only a few of us did not give up and continued to fight for our opportunity to become a US resident. By attracting public attention and the media, we managed to convince American lawyers that it was worth fighting for us. In one of the trials won, Judge Amit Mehta ruled that despite the temporary inability to enter, the Department of State is obliged to continue the visa issuance process. Thus, in mid-September, a few weeks before the end of the fiscal year, the embassies resumed interviewing and issuing visas. During this time, as mentioned earlier, 7022 people managed to receive their long-awaited visas. Most of these visas expire in March 2021, on different days, but no later than March 30. Visas that were not used to enter the United States before the end of the indicated period become expired and cannot be prolonged or reissued.
At that time in September when the interviews were continued, the proclamation was prohibiting entry until December 31, 2020. The proclamation was aimed at protecting the jobs of American citizens in the face of the crisis caused by the pandemic, and President Trump has repeatedly reported that his efforts have managed to fix this situation. This gave us hope that the proclamation would no longer be renewed and many of us bought one-way tickets for the beginning of the new year. Some families flew out on December 31 and, in the absence of official information on the extension or cancellation of the proclamation, got stuck in transit airports. Some have already managed to check-in and get into the departure area, saw their plane, but later were not allowed on board due to the fact that the airline companies were afraid to do wrong due to lack of official information.
On January 1, afternoon, interrupting his vacation, the President extended the proclamation until March 31, 2021. Meaning 1 day longer than the date of expiry of the last visa issued in September. It is worth noting that although President Trump had previously expressed a desire to fully cancel the DV lottery, he could not do this alone at the legislative level. By issuing a proclamation and its permanent renewal, he achieved the de facto cancellation of the 2020 lottery. More than 95% of people affected by this proclamation, who are, besides us, people with work and family reunification visas, will be able to realize their intentions in April or later. For us this will no longer be possible, because each of us will lose their chance in March along with the expiration of the visa validity period. In the case of my family, the deadline is March 14.
By the petition that we ask you to sign, we are trying to draw the attention of the newly elected president and the public to our situation. The fact that, having completed all the necessary actions on our part, we did not get the opportunity, not a single day to use the visas. And the most important thing is that, having passed the difficult path of almost two years, soon we will completely lose our chance. We created several petitions on the White House website and there is a long article written about us. Lots of people are ready to tell you their family stories. All links on this site. Support us please, and draw attention to our problem by sharing this!