If you applied for registration under the Diversity Visa Lottery 2014 (DV-2014) during the registration period held open between 2 October 2012 and 3 November 2012, you can now check online to see whether you have won. This article explains what the diversity visa lottery is and who is eligible to enter it.
What is the Diversity Visa Lottery?
Clients and other people I speak to about the diversity visa lottery, better known as "the green card lottery," are puzzled by the programme's existence. It seems that many have heard rumours of such an initiative, but dismissed them as being untrue. Well, I am here to tell you that the diversity visa lottery is an actual, legitimate way in which individuals who meet certain criteria can try to obtain lawful permanent residency in the United States (a 'green card').
The programme is administered by the Department of State pursuant to Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. It works like a lottery in that entrants submit their application online and 'winners' are randomly determined from amongst the pool of applicants. Each year, 55,000 green cards are made available to successful applicants to the Diversity Visa Programme.
Which nationalities are ineligible to enter the Diversity Visa Lottery?
Only nationals of countries which are determined to have a 'low admission' to the United States (having sent fewer than 50,000 nationals to the US in the prior 5 years) are eligible to submit an application through the green card lottery. The Attorney General is entrusted with determining which countries are low admission and which are high admission States. Because data is reviewed each year, the particular countries ineligible for the green card lottery can change.
For the 2014 DV Lottery, UK nationals were unfortunately ineligible to enter. The only exception exists for Northern Ireland. Additionally UK citizens who were born in Ireland are eligible to apply. In addition, nationals of the following countries were ineligible to enter the DV-2014 lottery: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, , and Vietnam.
For purposes of the Diversity Visa Lottery, a person's nationality is determined by the country where he or she was born, rather than the nationalities a person holds at the time they enter the lottery. There are important exceptions to this rule, and a person who was born in a country ineligible for the DV lottery may still be able to apply if certain conditions are met. The rules are complex and you should consult a US immigration lawyer to determine whether you qualify under one of the exceptions.
What other conditions must Diversity Visa applicants meet?
At a minimum, Diversity Visa applicants must have a high school degree or its equivalent, or two years' experience in a position requiring at least two years' experience, acquired within the last five years. In cases where there is doubt whether the applicant meets this condition, the list of occupations published by the Department of Labor can be examined to obtain further clarification.
How does one apply for the Diversity Visa Lottery?
Each Autumn, individuals who meet the minimum requirements can apply online on a website maintained by the Department of State. Entry is free of charge and entrants should be careful not to be defrauded by unscrupulous individuals. Unfortunately, there have been cases where fraudsters told applicants that they must pay a fee to enter the lottery through a non-official site, or falsely informed applicants that they won the lottery and must pay a sum of money.
To be on the safe side, Diversity Visa lottery applicants should:
- Enter the lottery on the official Department of State website;
- Not pay any fee to enter the lottery;
- Ensure that the application is fully filled out and, in particular, that the electronic photograph(s) which must be submitted conform to the specifications on the DOS website;
- Very importantly, make a note of their Entrant Status Check confirmation number; and
- Not submit more than one application, as this will automatically result in all the individual's applications being invalidated.
The Diversity Visa Lottery programme's future is uncertain at this point. Under US immigration reform proposals, the programme is to be eliminated, but it is unclear at this point if and when these proposals will be implemented.
I entered the DV-2014 lottery. How can I check whether I have been selected?
The only way for entrants to check whether they have been selected through the DV-2014 lottery is by going to the Department of State's website (https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/). Applicants must have the Entrant Status Check confirmation number assigned to them when they entered the lottery, as well as personal information concerning the applicant in order to verify the status of their application.
The American Immigration Law Office is a US immigration law firm in London, UK. Whether immigrating to the USA through family or employment, the firm would be delighted to assist. Contact our US immigration lawyer in London for a consultation today!