A group calling themselves the "22,000 Hopefuls" are suing the US state department to try and stop a re-drawing of its 2012 Diversity Lottery.
The 22,000 people had received a promise saying their applications had been accepted and would be considered from 19 million entrants after entering a yearly "Green Card lottery" programme offered by the US government.
But US officials later retracted the results after they said a computer glitch for drawing the people was discovered.
Names of the entrants are pulled in a random selection and given a number that allows the individuals to go through to the final phase in the selection of a permanent visa to live and work in the U.
Now 36 people who have had their hopes dashed are demanding the US government honour the draw and the acceptance letter they received.
Al Jazeera's John Terrett reports from Washington.