When Nadia Bassirnezhad found out that she had been selected for an interview in order to obtain a visa for the United States, she felt like she had hit the jackpot.

She was 29 years old at the time and dreamed of studying architecture at Georgia Tech. She also has relatives in Georgia.

The US broke off diplomatic relations with Iran more than 40 years ago. Because there is no US embassy in Iran, she had to spend money to travel to Armenia to be interviewed.

Bassirnezhad is now 32 years old and still in Iran. Because of a travel ban against Iran, she never had the chance to come to Georgia.

“That was unfair and we still have to have a chance,” she says.

Some Iranians who wanted to travel to Georgia under the Trump administration have had their visas canceled. Now they are calling on the federal government to remedy the situation.

We didn’t think we would be affected by the Muslim ban. “

President Biden Trump’s ban lifted restricted travel from several Muslim-majority countries. He described the ban as a “stain on our national conscience”.

But some selected under the Trump administration to start obtaining visas are still unable to enter the US

“For Iranians, it meant that those who won the lottery in 2017, 18 and 19 were essentially excluded from the lottery,” said Charles Kuck, a Georgia-based attorney at Kuck Baxter Immigration.

Millions of people apply for the chance to get one of tens of thousands of visas issued annually. Many call it a “once in a lifetime” opportunity.

In 1990, Congress launched the Visa Lottery. The number of visas issued is limited to 50,000 per year. “Winning” the lottery does not guarantee the recipient a visa; it only allows the person to apply. For the 2018 program, for example, there was nearly 14.7 million worldwide entries for one of the 50,000 visas available. Those who get a green card at the end are chosen at random by a computer.

“It’s really a lottery,” says Kuck. “Just like you can go to 7-Eleven and buy a lottery ticket to play.”

Fahimeh Azarpira, 53, says she applied for the green card lottery 15 times before being selected in 2019. This time, she was hoping to go to Georgia so that her daughter can attend college in the state. Her husband, a pistachio farmer, wanted to start a business in Georgia.

“We thought we were entitled,” Azarrira said through a translator. “We didn’t think we would be affected by the Muslim ban.”

But the travel ban prevented them from coming. She spent thousands of dollars on travel, the visa process, and hiring a lawyer for her refusal.

Affected selections of the program, who still want to come to the USA, have to participate in the lottery again.

ON State Department statement in March read: “FY 2017 – FY 2020 Diversity visa applicants who have not been issued a visa are legally excluded from issuing visas in these financial years due to their selection as diversity visa applicants, as the deadlines for issuing visas in these fiscal years have expired. “

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against Trump’s travel ban, calling the ban discriminatory. The organization also says that it is unacceptable for the Biden administration to do nothing for past winners. “Instead of restoring this opportunity, President Biden simply dusted Trump’s ‘CLOSED’ sign and locked the door behind him,” said the ACLU said in a statement earlier this year.

According to Kuck, Biden cannot change the law, although many have asked the Biden administration for a solution. “The lottery is over,” he says.

But he says Congress can propose a bill honoring former elect the chance for a visa. However, Kuck doubts that there will be any movement in Congress to help previous winners.

Despite the time and money that both Bassirnezhad and Azarpira have invested, they are betting that they will eventually win the diversity lottery visa. Both have applied twice since being rejected.

Both believe Biden should let past winners into the country. They want their chance back to come to the USA.