Green Card Lottery Ends Soon

LotteryAs the window for entry into the 2016 Diversity Visa program (DV-2016)—the green card lottery—is about to close, nationals from around the world must submit their completed entries no later than Nov. 3, 2014. The US Department of State (DOS) only accepts the lottery entries electronically, disallowing any entries submitted through the US Postal Service.

Applicants should review complete instructions for entering the lottery. The English language version of the DV-2016 Program instructions is the only official version. An overview of the program guidelines is below.

Applicants are allowed only one entry per application period. DOS disqualified individuals who make multiple entries to the lottery. At the same time, both a husband and wife who are each eligible for the lottery can enter and give derivative depend status to their spouse.

DV entries should also list information about all living and unmarried children who are under the age of 21. This includes natural children, step children, and children who’ve been adopted in accordance with national laws. Parents and siblings of those entering the lottery aren’t  eligible for derivative dependent status and shouldn’t be included on the application.

The DV program, which accepts submission entries annually, began accepting applications for the DV-2016 program on October 1. Each year, 55,000 nationals from around the world win a chance to live and work in the United States through an award of lawful permanent residency status—a green card. The application process is open to the residents around the world who come from counties with historically low immigration rates.

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is congressionally mandated and intended to ensure cultural diversity among the nation’s immigrants. To do this, DOS divides the world into six geographic zones. No more than 7 percent of diversity visas are awarded to nationals of any one country within a zone. Nations that are considered “high admission countries” are those where more than 50,000 nationals have been awarded family-sponsored or employment-based visas to the United States in the last five years. Because the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) calculated the visa numbers each year, green card lottery-eligible and ineligible countries can vary year to year.

For nationals of eligible countries—or who have spouses from eligible counties—applicants must meet several criteria. Applicants are required to have a minimum of a high school education or its equivalent, or applicants must have worked for at least two of the previous five years in a job requiring at least two years of specialized training or experience. Only formal study is allowable for the education requirement as USCIS doesn’t count correspondence courses or equivalency degrees toward the requirement.

Entrants to the DV-2016 program can use the confirmation number they receive on entry completion to begin checking their status on May 5, 2015, though DOS advises entrants to hang on to their number until at least June 30, 2016. Entrants to the DV-20125 program can likewise check their status here.

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