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If a student (F-1 visa holder) or his/her relative (F-2 visa holder) wins the DV lottery for a green card, while they are living inside the USA, how should they proceed with their application and how long does it take on average to receive their green cards?

Also, can they apply for EAD or combo card before getting the green card to get work permit sooner?

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The process of getting a green card from within the US is Adjustment of Status, filed with I-485. If you are in the US, in status, and have nothing barring you from Adjustment of Status, you can choose to do Adjustment of Status with Diversity Visa, after having paid the DV lottery fees to the Department of State.

One thing you should take into account is that Diversity Visas selected for a given fiscal year can only be issued before the end of that fiscal year (September 30), or the person loses the ability to immigrate on that visa. For Adjustment of Status, that means that the I-485 must be approved by September 30, or the person loses eligibility. See the Diversity Visa section in I-485 instructions, page 39-40:

You and your derivatives may only receive a DV through the end of the specific fiscal year for which you were selected. USCIS cannot approve any DV adjustment application after September 30 of the relevant fiscal year. Beginning October 1, USCIS must deny any DV adjustment application that remains pending from the prior fiscal year.

USCIS cannot guarantee that it will be able to adjudicate your application before the end of a fiscal year. Therefore, you are encouraged to file as soon as you are eligible.

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  • I feel the answer could use a specific example of the timing--September 30 of the year after you were picked for a diversity visa. So for DV-2024, you apply this year (2022), informed if you can apply starting in spring 2023, and your application has to be approved by September 30 of 2024.
    – mkennedy
    May 1 at 19:47
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If a student (F-1 visa holder) or his/her relative (F-2 visa holder) wins the DV lottery for a green card, while they are living inside the USA, how should they proceed with their application and how long does it take on average to receive their green cards?

By filing Form I-485. See https://expatriates.stackexchange.com/a/23697/164 for the processing time.

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  • Thank you! Do you know if they can also file 765 and 131 forms( combo card) beside the 485 form, concurrently? And how long it would take to get the combo card?
    – WDR
    May 1 at 18:16
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    @WDR: Yes they can. EAD and Advance Parole take several months. See the USCIS processing times for those forms.
    – user102008
    May 1 at 19:17

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