WHAT IS IT?
The Diversity Lottery program is an annual lottery run by the U.S. Department of State. The DV Lottery offers up to 55,000 permanent resident visas each year to randomly selected applicants from eligible countries. For the fiscal year 2012, 50,000 DV’s were available.
WHEN DOES IT START?
The Lottery is run once a year and qualified applicants are randomly chosen by computer. The online registration period for the 2013 Diversity Visa Program (DV-2013) will begin on Tuesday, October 4, 2011, at noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and conclude on Saturday, November 5, 2011, at noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4).
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
The annual DV program makes visas available to persons meeting simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. A computer-generated, random lottery drawing chooses selectees for DVs. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions, with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration, and with no visas going to nationals of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the period of the past five years. Within each region, no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available DVs in any one year.
For DV-2012, natives of the following countries were not eligible to apply because the countries sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the previous five years: BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PERU, PHILIPPINES, POLAND, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and VIETNAM.
For DV-2013, natives of South Sudan and Poland are now eligible for selection, while Bangladesh natives are now ineligible.
WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR ENTRY?
To enter the DV lottery, you must be a native of one of the listed countries. Native of a country whose natives qualify: In most cases, this means the country in which you were born. However, there are two other ways you may be able to qualify. First, if you were born in a country whose natives are ineligible but your spouse was born in a country whose natives are eligible, you can claim your spouse’s country of birth—provided that both you and your spouse are on the selected entry, are issued visas, and enter the United States simultaneously. Second, if you were born in a country whose natives are ineligible, but neither of your parents was born there or resided there at the time of your birth, you may claim nativity in one of your parents’ countries of birth if it is a country whose natives qualify for the DV-2013 program.
The law and regulations require that every diversity visa entrant must have at least:
- A high school education or its equivalent; or
- Two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years’ training or experience.
To learn more about qualifying occupations, see the Diversity Visa Instructions Frequently Asked Questions and the List of Occupations webpage.
If you cannot meet either of these requirements, you should NOT submit an entry to the DV program.
MUST I SUBMIT MY OWN ENTRY, OR MAY SOMEONE ACT ON MY BEHALF?
You may prepare and submit your own entry, or have someone submit the entry for you. Regardless of whether an entry is submitted by the individual directly, or assistance is provided by an attorney, friend, relative, etc., only one entry may be submitted in the name of each person, and the entrant remains responsible for ensuring that information in the entry is correct and complete.
Jaensch Immigration Law Firm offers both lottery submission support and application for permanent residence after lottery selection. It can process a lottery submission for an eligible candidate for $150 per person. As a part of its service, the law firm evaluates whether the person meets the lottery requirements and whether the person will meet the admissibility requirements should they be selected in the lottery.
The firm’s lottery registration page is located at www.visaamerica.com/greencard.