Diversity Visa Lottery Aims to Widen U.S. Immigrant Pool
Washington - Every year the Diversity Visa Lottery gives 50,000 qualified people from countries that send low numbers of immigrants to the United States a chance to apply for a permanent resident visa, or "green card."
(Media-Newswire.com) - Washington — Every year the Diversity Visa Lottery gives 50,000 qualified people from countries that send low numbers of immigrants to the United States a chance to apply for a permanent resident visa, or “green card.”
This year, the entry period for the lottery lasts for 30 days, from October 5 to November 3. The lottery is open to individuals who meet certain education or work requirements and were born in an eligible country. Those whose names are selected by computerized random drawing are permitted to take the next steps in the visa application process.
“The idea was to diversify the immigrant pool,” said John Wilcock, a visa specialist with the State Department, in explaining the 1990 law that created the new class of “diversity immigrants.” He briefed journalists at Washington’s Foreign Press Center September 27.
The Diversity Visa Lottery is open to natives of countries that have sent fewer than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the last five years. Countries that are the source of high numbers of immigrants are excluded from the lottery.
The ineligible countries are the same as last year: Brazil, Canada, China ( mainland-born ), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, South Korea, United Kingdom ( except Northern Ireland ) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. People born in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ( SAR ) of China, Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible.
To ensure that 50,000 permanent resident visas are issued each year, Wilcock said, some additional names are selected in the lottery to make up for people who decide not to apply for a visa or don’t qualify.
Each diversity visa lottery is named after the fiscal year for which it is designed. This version is known as DV-2012 because the visas will be issued during fiscal year 2012 ( October 1, 2011–September 30, 2012 ).
The only way to apply for the lottery is to register online at the designated State Department website. Applications will be accepted only from noon EDT ( 16:00 GMT ), Tuesday, October 5, 2010, to noon EDT ( 16:00 GMT ), Wednesday, November 3, 2010. No applications will be accepted after that. Each applicant will receive a unique confirmation number at the end of the registration process.
The lottery instructions urge applicants not to wait until the last week of the registration period to enter because heavy demand may result in website delays.
Applicants for the DV-2012 lottery will be able to check the status of their entries on the State Department’s diversity visa Entrant Status Check website starting on May 1, 2011. ( Until then, the site will provide information on the DV-2011 lottery, which was held last year. ) Entrants will be asked to provide their confirmation number, last name/family name and year of birth. People who are selected in the lottery will be instructed on how to apply for immigrant visas. They may receive an e-mail from the Kentucky Consular Center advising them to check the website again for additional information, such as confirmation of a visa interview appointment.
People should check the Entrant Status Check website regularly “to see if they’re going to get called for an interview. Not everybody will get called for an interview,” Wilcock said.
Wilcock emphasized that notifications will not be sent by regular mail and that e-mails will not contain or ask for personal information. Participation in the Diversity Visa Lottery is free. “The only place that DV applicants should pay money is at the time of their [visa] interview at the embassy or consulate at which they’re applying,” Wilcock said, referring to mandatory fees connected with the visa application process. “We're encouraging people not to send money or pay money in advance to anybody who’s making any promises.”
Individuals who submit multiple entries for the lottery will be disqualified — although a husband and wife can each apply separately. Entries should be filled out carefully because incorrect information will disqualify a candidate. For example, parents must include the names of all children under age 21, even if they do not intend to take them to the United States, Wilcock said. The children and the spouses of applicants who are approved for permanent resident visas are also granted visas.
Wilcock was asked if security concerns reduce the chances that people from certain regions would be selected in the lottery. “It does not play at all in terms of who can participate in the program,” he said. Every native of an eligible country can participate, and “each and every applicant is subjected to the same kind of background investigation.”
“Individual applicants who have ineligibilities — and that might include security-based ineligibilities — may be restricted from immigrating to the United States,” he said. “But that determination is made on a person-by-person basis. We’re not putting any group of people into a category and excluding them. That’s not the way our immigration system works.”
Diversity Visa Lottery ( DV-2012 ) instructions are available in English and several other languages, and additional languages will be added. See also Fraud Warning.
The DV-2012 electronic entry form will be available starting October 3.
The Entrant Status Check for DV-2012 will be available starting May 1, 2011.
( This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://www.america.gov )
This story was released on 2010-09-30. Please make sure to visit the official company or organization web site to learn more about the original release date. See our disclaimer for additional information.