Diversity Visa Lottery begins accepting applicants

30 Sep 15

UNITED STATES

Online registration opens Thursday for the fiscal year 2017 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. The program provides 50,000 immigrant visas to individuals from countries with historically low levels of immigration to the U.S. Applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements to qualify and are selected through a randomized computer drawing.

Registration to participate in the lottery begins Thursday Oct. 1, 2015 at noon EDT (GMT-4) and ends Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015 at noon EDT (GMT-5). Applicants must apply online by submitting the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form at www.dvlottery.state.gov. The State Department cautions applicants not to wait until the final week to register because heavy demand may cause website delays.

Nationals of the following countries are not eligible to apply because the number of immigrants to the U.S. from each exceeded 50,000 in the past five years: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, South Korea, the United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

Individuals born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible to apply.

Registrants must meet two eligibility criteria: they must be born in an eligible country and meet educational or work requirements. Individuals who are not from an eligible country may qualify by claiming the country of their spouse or parents from an eligible country under certain circumstances. Applicants must also have a high school education or two years of work experience in the past five years in a qualifying occupation. To register, applicants must complete the online form and submit a digital color photo that meets precise specifications for each family member. Only one entry per person is allowed; individuals who submit more than one entry will be disqualified.

Complete instructions are available at the State Department’s Diversity Visa Instructions page. Applicants should note that the online form is the only way to apply and that there is no cost to submit an entry form (though winners must pay government visa fees).

Lottery winners are selected through a random computerized selection process starting May 3, 2016 and continuing to Sept. 30, 2017. Applicants can find out if they are selected only by returning to the website and entering their unique confirmation number and personal information on the Entrant Status Check page. Lottery winners may apply for their green cards beginning Oct. 1, 2016.

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