Ask the U.S. Consul – August 2017

Question

I received email from a website requesting a payment to process a “green card.”  Is this a legitimate website?

No, this email is likely a scam.  All official websites or emails from the U.S. government end with the “.gov” top-level domain suffix.  Any visa-related correspondence coming from an address that does not end with “.gov” should be considered suspect.

The scammers behind these fraudulent emails are attempting to illegally collect payment from Diversity Visa (DV) applicants.  By familiarizing yourself with the DV program you will know what to expect, when to expect it, and from whom.  If you understand how the Diversity Visa Lottery works, it will be hard for scammers to get your money.

The U.S. Government Diversity Visa Lottery gives you a chance to immigrate to the United States.  There is only one way to enter the DV lottery, and that is by submitting an Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form (E-DV Entry Form) during the lottery registration period.  This period runs from October to November each year.  This visa entry form is only accessible at www.dvlottery.state.gov. If you did not register in this way, you are not entered in the DV.

There is NO fee to enter the DV Lottery.  You do not need an agent or an attorney to complete your entry or application.  DV lottery winners pay fees ONLY to the U.S. Embassy on the day of the visa interview.  Even if you have won the lottery, do not pay fees to anyone but the U.S. Embassy.  Any fees paid to online vendors are not refunded by the Embassy.

While DV applicants may receive an email from the U.S. government reminding them to check their status online, you will not receive a notification letter or email informing you that you are a successful DV entrant.  You can only find out if you are selected to continue with the DV processing by checking your status online through the DV Entrant Status Check at www.dvlottery.state.gov.

We take this opportunity to remind all visa applicants that payments for nonimmigrant (visitor, work, or student visas) are made at Scotiabank branches in Trinidad and Tobago.  There is no online option to pay this application fee.

The US $160 (approximately 1096 TT) paid by persons seeking a nonimmigrant visa is an application fee. This means that the payment is for processing an application, not for issuance of a visa.  Since the fee pays for processing, no refunds are possible. In other words, paying the fee is not related to whether you receive a visa or not.

Do not pay, provide your credit card information, or your passport number to anyone claiming the ability to review your application or guarantee a visa approval. If you choose to use an internet café or similar service provider to complete your application form or schedule an appointment, be aware that you are responsible for the accuracy of the information on your form. Be sure to check that your form was completed accurately.

When seeking information we recommend you visit official sites including the U.S. Embassy Port of Spain website at tt.usembassy.gov, and the Visa Information website trinidadandtobago.usvisa-info.com.

The U.S. Embassy Facebook page will also respond to any brief inquires that you may have.  United States citizens in Trinidad and Tobago can email acspos@state.gov for assistance.