HARLINGEN, Texas (Border Report) — Thousands of immigrants who had applied for a visa lottery to come to the United States learned Thursday that all slots for Fiscal Year 2023 have already been filled.
“The Department of State has issued all available diversity visas (DVs) for the 2023 Diversity Visa Program. We know the conclusion of the 2023 program may be disappointing to selectees who were unable to receive a visa,” the State Department posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
Congress set a cap of 55,000 Diversity Program visas to be issued this fiscal year, but nearly 120,000 applicants were registered, according to industry analysts.
“Given that some of the first 55,000 persons selected will not qualify for visas or ultimately choose not to participate in the program, more individuals are selected to participate each year than visas available. This is done to ensure we are able to issue the maximum number of visas available under the DV program in any given year,” the State Department tweeted.
Interviews that had been scheduled were canceled.
“It is cruel to crush the dreams of hopeful immigrants,” immigration lawyer Curtis Morrison said. “When it became evident to most public observers of the DV program in early August that State Department was on track to consume the allotted number of visas through existing interviews, the department should have stopped scheduling new interviews – setting up false hopes for thousands.”
“They shouldn’t have scheduled these interviews when they don’t have visas available. It’s financially and emotionally devastating for DV families,” said immigration lawyer Kristina Ghazaryan, of Encino, California.
In Fiscal 2022, the Administration exceeded the 55,000 allotted Diversity Visas and issued 55,774, Ghazaryan said.
That included 54,334 issued by the State Department — the most in 25 years — and 1,440 by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
According to the State Department’s website, the agency’s goal is to “provide a visa interview for every applicant who requires one, worldwide, in a reasonable timeframe.”
The green cards, or visas issued through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, are drawn from random selection from entries submitted from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States, according to USCIS.
Upon learning future interviews are canceled, one applicant tweeted they were scheduled to have a 7 a.m. interview on Friday and had completed their required medical physical.
The next application period enrollment starts Oct. 4.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at SSanchez@BorderReport.com.