February 8, 2022
The passport requirement for Green Card Lottery applicants that was introduced in 2019 has been eliminated. A February 4, 2022 federal court order ruled that the rule (which required applicants to have a valid passport before they registered in the US Visa Lottery program) was enacted illegally.
According to the judge, the Trump-era US State Department enacted the passport regulations unlawfully because of a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The APA requires a public comment period for review of new rules. There was no opportunity given for such a public review when the passport rule was implemented.
Following the judge’s ruling, the US State Department issued a statement promising that it would abide by the court order and adjust its operations accordingly.
This outcome makes it easier for aspiring US immigrants to register in the Green Card Lottery. The program awards up to 55,000 “diversity visas" every year to individuals who qualify. The two qualifying requirements are (1) a minimum level of education (or work experience), and (2) birth in (or chargeability to) a qualifying country. During the 2019-2021 period in which the passport rule was in place, a third requirement was for the applicant to have a valid and unexpired passport. As a result of this court ruling, applicants will no longer be required to provide passport information.
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