With the entry of autumn onto the calendar, hundreds of thousands of people from around the world could be closer to fulfilling their dream of living and working in the United States. Beginning at the start of October and running for about one month, the Department of State (DOS) opens registration for the Diversity Visa (DV) Program. The month with typically heavy seasonal change seems highly symbolic for hopeful immigrants looking to leave an old life behind and to build a new and better life in the United States.
The DV Program—more commonly called the green card lottery— was adopted by Congress in 1990 and allots 50,000 visas to nationals living in countries around the world. The visas are intended for segments that are typically underrepresented in the immigrant community. In practical terms, this means those countries from which fewer than 50,000 immigrants have come to live in the United States over the past five years. Dividing the world into six geographic zones, nationals of each eligible country receive no more than 7 percent—3,500– of the total distributed visas. In recent years, countries in Africa and Europe comprise about 80 percent of DV recipients.
Potential DV 2016 immigrants can register beginning at noon, Eastern Daylight Time, on Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. Registration for the diversity visas ends noon Eastern Standard Time on Monday, November 3, 2014. While those entering the lottery might be inclined to act fast, it’s worth noting that entries completed at the beginning or at the end of the registration window isn’t any more or less likely to be chosen than any other. Still, DOS recommends users complete their entry sooner rather than later because “heavy demand may result in website delays,” according to information on the DOS site.
While the timing of entries is of little importance in the lottery selection process, accurate and complete information is of critical importance. DOS unceremoniously throws out any entry that is incomplete. And, as only one entry per person is allowed, DOS software likewise dumps duplicate entries. What’s more, eligible entrants have a high school education or its equivalent, or they have qualifying occupational experience. Additionally, qualifying eligibility is contingent on admissibility under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
DV Program rules say all entries must be made in the electronic format—no paper entries allowed—and that entries must be submitted before the end of the registration period. Additionally, potential entrants should note that scammers have swindled potential immigrants in the past by taking money for claims of offering a lottery win. In truth, entering the lottery is free. Guaranteed offers on the lottery are fraudulent.
Once lottery winners are selected in May of next year, potential immigrants must supply additional documentation to show immigrant eligibility.