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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Cool Can an F-1 Student Change Status to Immigrant Status Through Visa Lottery

    I have a question.

    Through the law, F1 visa holders are not allow to get immigrant status or intend to migrate.

    So, what will happen if they won a VISA lottery and file in the I-485 application while they are in USA and still studying or just graduated?

    I cannot find any clear information about this. The information on the "Green Card Through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program" from the USCIS website doesn't mentioned anything about non-immigrant visa holders. However, under "Supporting Evidence for Form I-485", they mentioned about submitting a "Copy of passport page with non-immigrant visa (if applicable)". This is probably for H1B visa holders because they are allowed to migrate.

    So can F1 visa holders get a green card through the lottery? Is there any similar case like this? What happened to them. Is there anybody that you know gets a green card through the lottery?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Can an F-1 Student Change Status to Immigrant Status Through Visa Lottery

    Note that winning the Green Card Lottery does not mean that you automatically get a Green Card. It means that you're eligible to apply for a Green Card based on the lottery, but you only get immigrant status if you are able to adjust status before the deadline. Your priority date may impact your ability to obtain a Green Card - the earlier in the year, the better. A bit more than half of lottery winners end up getting Green Cards.

    If you are out of the U.S. you use consular processing to change from F1 status to immigrant status. That will generally be a faster, easier process than attempting the same from within the U.S. If you're in the country you petition to adjust your status.

    Note that there is a tension between holding a F1 visa (a nonimmigrant visa) and attempting to gain immigrant status. This is not normally an issue based only upon your application for the lottery, but can become a problem once you are notified that you have won. Be prepared, if necessary, to document that when you entered under F1 status you did not have the intention to immigrate, even if you formed such intent at a later date. Once you obtain a Green Card it's no longer an issue - you can work and attend school - but there's potentially a period in which you might not qualify for F1 status. It would thus make sense to consult an immigration lawyer if you are notified that you have won.

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