On Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at noon (EDT), the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, also known as the “Green Card Lottery” or “Diversity Visa Lottery” will begin accepting entries from qualified individuals seeking to become lawful permanent residents of the U.S. This program, established by the U.S. government to encourage immigration from countries that traditionally have low U.S. immigration rates, provides 50,000 immigrant visas for individuals from certain countries that meet specified requirements. The requirements include the following:
1. Birth in a qualifying country;
2. Possess a high school education or its equivalent OR two years of employment within the last five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience.
Additionally, the government will review Diversity Visa applicants just as it does any other individual applying for an immigrant visa. Therefore, applicants will not be eligible for an immigrant visa if they have any issues that would prevent them from obtaining a visa, such as certain criminal convictions, past deportation orders, or a bar to re-entering the U.S.
To apply, individuals must submit an application at https://www.dvlottery.state.gov by noon (EDT) on Saturday, November 2, 2013. Applicants will then be chosen through an electronic lottery. If chosen, the Department of State (DOS) will notify applicants after May 1, 2014 electronically through their account on https://www.dvlottery.state.gov and will provide instructions for submitting the required documentation and paying the immigrant visa fees for themselves and their immediate family members.
Please note there is no fee for submitting a lottery application. Therefore, be wary of any phone calls, emails, or letters stating that you must submit a fee to be included in the lottery, as these are likely scams.
If you have any questions regarding your eligibility for a Diversity Visa or a green card, please contact an attorney at Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C.