18:26 / 18.04.2022
Citizens of Uzbekistan ask US embassy in Tashkent to increase number of interviews for DV-2022 winners
Фото: uz.usembassy.gov

Since October 2021, the US Embassy in Tashkent has invited only 1,431 DV-2022 winners. However, it was during this period that the embassies of the United States in other countries managed to interview several times more people.

Only 24% of the winners were invited for an interview...

The DV Lottery program is open to citizens of all countries, including Uzbekistan, except for countries where 50,000 citizens have immigrated to the United States over the past five years. Every year, 55,000 people around the world are selected among the lottery participants. Green card holders are selected randomly. Issuance of visas is limited by country and region. No country will be issued more than 7% of the total green card.

In 2022, 6,001 citizens of Uzbekistan became winners of the DV program. That is, so many of our compatriots are applying for a US visa. But so far only 1,431 of them have been invited for an interview. This represents 24% of the total winners.

“If things go at this rate, applicants with a large number of cases will not be invited for an interview until October, and as a result, they may not be able to get a green card despite winning the DV Lottery,” an Uzbek who won a green card told in an interview with Kun.uz.

Of the 1,431 people so far, only 1,063 have been invited for an interview by May. A total of 368 applicants have been scheduled for the interview, which is expected to take place in May.

Only 567 Uzbeks who passed the interview were issued visas, while 177 were sent for administrative inspection at the embassy due to suspicions and other reasons. A total of 194 applicants were unable to attend the visa review process and interview for unknown reasons, and the 125 winners of the DV-2022 program were found to be unable to obtain visas because they were denied visas after the interview.

It should be noted that, as a rule, the invitation of DV-2022 winners to the interview began in October 2021. However, from October 10, 2021 to January 31, 2022, the US Embassy in Tashkent did not invite any candidates for an interview. This is due to the pandemic situation. However, in 4 months, the embassy issued 3,466 immigration and other nonimmigrant visas unrelated to the DV-2022 program. These are numbers based on data from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.

However, U.S. embassies in other countries continued to interview DV program winners in October, November, December, and January 2022. In October-December, the US embassies in Abu Dhabi (UAE), Warsaw (Poland), Tbilisi (Georgia), Kiev (Ukraine), Ankara (Turkey), Almaty (Kazakhstan) and Yerevan (Armenia) invited a total of 65 people for interviews. 

In January 2022, the US embassies in Warsaw, Ankara, Kiev, Tbilisi, Almaty, Ashgabat (Turkmenistan), Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), Seoul (South Korea) and Riga (Latvia) interviewed a total of 311 DV-2022 winners. These numbers may not be huge, but embassies in these countries, unlike the US embassy in Tashkent, have been conscientious in their approach and have tried to interview green card winners as much as possible. 

As the US embassy in Tashkent stated, if it did not invite DV winners from October to February due to restrictions on the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, why did the US embassy in other countries continue to operate? However, the pandemic has been observed all over the world, and shouldn’t the logical epidemiological restriction apply equally to US missions in all countries? Or was the 4-month hiatus an initiative of the Tashkent embassy itself?

“Up to 7,000 case owners are invited for an interview...”

As a rule, once the green card winners are announced, they will be asked to complete a questionnaire on Form DS-260. After that, the applications and documents of visa applicants will be considered and the date of the interview will be determined.

Statistics show that the US Embassy in Tashkent has so far invited up to 7,000 applicants for an interview. If the process continues at this pace, 9,000 case owners may be invited for an interview until June, 11,000 – until July, 13,000 – until August, and 16,000 – until September. 

“Initially, the embassy was calling a mix of large and small digital cases. That is why, although the number of cases invited for interviews has only reached 7,000 so far, a number of winners from high-profile cases have already been interviewed. I think it was fair. Lawyers later complained that the interview was not marked on case numbers, after which the winners were invited for an interview on a case-by-case basis. But that’s working to the detriment of big-case candidates. As long as the embassy cannot call mixed case numbers, it should at least increase the number of interview days and increase the limit for interviewees. Then the rights of others will not be violated. Because regardless of the case number, all are winners and have equal rights,” an Uzbek man, winner of the DV-2022 program, said.

The US embassy in Tashkent invited 140 case owners with family members for an interview in April and 120 – in May. So far, the number of people invited to the interview is 1,431, and if 1,500 people are invited for an interview in June-September, it is estimated that only 50% of green card winners will receive a visa and the remaining 50% will be deprived of such an opportunity.

“If this continues, many people will not be able to get visas”

The deadline for obtaining a visa under the DV-2022 program is September 30, 2022. The winners of the DV-2022 program interviewed by Kun.uz say that the process of interviewing visa applicants is very slow, and if everything continues in this way, many will not be able to enter the interview and will be left without a visa.

“We are the winners of DV-2022. The green card was issued to my husband. We have 20,000-case number (individual list number). The U.S. embassy in Tashkent was supposed to begin reviewing the winners’ case in October, but for reasons unknown to us, consideration of the documents began in February. On top of that, the number of interviews conducted in a month is very low. The embassy conducted interviews twice a week and scheduled many interviews. Now it conducts interviews 4 days a month and the number of interviews is very small. At such a pace, it may not be the turn of the winners, whose case number is 14-15 thousand.

Let me tell you about ourselves, we have been in Russia for 10 years. It has always been our dream to go to the United States. Nationalism is on the rise in Russia, so we do not want to stay here. In the United States, there is no segregation. In addition, living in Russia is becoming increasingly difficult under the influence of international sanctions imposed for the invasion of Ukraine. Having won the green card after so many years, we no longer want to be deprived of our dreams. We hope that the embassy officials will understand us correctly and allow all the winners to be interviewed,” one of the DV-2022 winners from Uzbekistan said.

“On October 1, 2021, the winners of DV-2022 should have been invited to the embassy for an interview. But in October, November, December and January, no one was invited for an interview. The embassy said it was busy issuing other types of visas collected during the pandemic. The US Embassy in Tashkent said on its official Facebook page in response to a question from one of the green card winners that interviews with the DV-2022 winners would begin in November. But that did not happen.

We thought that the months when the interview was not organized should be covered in the coming months, that is, the number of interview days and the number of interviewees will be multiplied several times, creating equal conditions for all. But this is not happening. In March, the interview lasted only four days. So far, very small digital cases have been invited. Our case is over 14,000. It is unknown whether or not the turn will come by September.

We have repeatedly contacted via email both the Kentucky Consular Center, which handles the DV document winners, and the US Embassy in Tashkent, asking for more interviews. I and other applicants received the same response – “When it’s your turn, you will be invited for an interview”. Our case is between 14,000 and 15,000, but we are still worried. There are also 20,000 to 21,000-cases, and no one knows whether they will be queued or not,” an Uzbek man who wished to remain anonymous said.

“If there are only four-day interviews a month, it’s clear that most people can’t get visas, and that’s not fair. The United States was known around the world for its just society and decisions. We ask the consular staff to treat everyone equally, regardless of the case number, and to do this, increase the number of interview days and interviewees.

The US Embassy in Tashkent, in response to questions from Kun.uz, said it was continuing to review immigration visas in accordance with the State Department’s priority schedule, with DV visas at the bottom of the list. Though, this is not fair!

Other types of visas are not limited in time and can be obtained at any time. However, visas issued through the DV Lottery program have fixed deadlines, and if the permit is missed, the applicant may be completely deprived of the opportunity to immigrate to the United States under the program. Given that no interviews have been held for four months, at least until September, DV visas should be given priority, and the processing of the remaining visas should be delayed or reduced,” one of the compatriots, who asked not to be named, said fearing that his application would be considered.

According to Uzbeks who contacted Kun.uz, the fact that the US Embassy in Tashkent did not review the documents of the winners of the DV-2022 program from October 2021 to February 2022 and did not interview the candidates is due to the execution of a court decision to expedite the issuance of visas to DV-2021 winners.

“The embassy said it would consider the case of the winners of the DV-2021 program, which was reserved by the court until February, and was busy with that. In addition, as far as we know, the US State Department did not allow the embassy in Tashkent to interview the winners of the DV-2022 program.

Later after a number of inquiries, we received a reply from the consular section of the embassy stating that they were busy reviewing the case of the DV-2021 winners.

However, as it turned out, for so many months, the work of the winners of the program DV-2021 was not very impressive. Only 17 cases were interviewed last year.

According to the court decision, consideration of the documents of the winners of the DV-2022 program was delayed by 4 months due to the additional time given for the consideration of the case of the winners of the DV-2021 program. As a result, from October 2021 to April 2022, only 156 case visas were issued.

Considering the above facts, the consular section of the embassy should allocate us more time, and if this is not possible, it is necessary to at least double the number of interviews by September,” Uzbek winners of the DV-2022 claim.

Our compatriots have also prepared a video appeal to the US Embassy in Tashkent. In a video message posted on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, they asked to increase the number of interview days and the number of people invited to the interview. The US Embassy in Tashkent has not yet commented on the appeal.