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Key Points

  • The State Department must reserve 9,095 diversity visas for 2020 DV lottery winners
  • The court previously ruled that PP 9994 does not ban visa issuance
  • The State Department must issue visas beyond the end of the 2020 fiscal year
  • The ruling prevents unissued visas from lapsing pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act
  • Visa holders are still subject to an entry ban while travel restrictions remain in place


A US District Court in Washington, DC has ordered the State Department to reserve 9,095 immigrant visas for winners of the 2020 Diversity Visa (DV) lottery. The ruling also requires the State Department to issue the visas beyond September 30th, which is the end of the 2020 fiscal year.


Previously, the same court found that Presidential Proclamation 9994, issued on March 13, 2020 by the Trump Administration, suspended entry for some foreign nationals into the United States, but it did not bar visa issuance. Consequently, the court ordered the State Department to start issuing immigrant visas to DV 2020 lottery winners. The court decided to reserve 9,095 visas based on its estimate of the number of visas that would have normally been issued by the State Department from March through September 2020.

The State Department has issued more than 3,000 diversity visas since the court’s first order. However, approximately 40,000 out of the 55,000 allotted diversity visas for FY 2020 remain unissued, and many applications have not been adjudicated. Normally, visas that remain unissued at the end of the fiscal year for which applicants were selected expire pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act. However, the court’s ruling provides relief for 2020 DV lottery winners by allowing them to receive their visas past the normal fiscal year deadline.

What are the Impacts for Employers and Applicants?

Although FY 2020 DV lottery winners will still receive their visas, a travel ban is still in effect that bars entry into the US for many foreign nationals. Even if the State Department issues the diversity visas as ordered, visa holders are subject to entry restrictions until the travel ban ends.

Looking Ahead

The travel ban will expire on December 31, 2020 unless it is extended. Applicants should monitor changes to entry restrictions.

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