U.S. Visa Lottery Begins October 4

Registration for the the U.S. Department of State 2013 Diversity Visa Lottery will begin on October 4 and run through November 5.

Each year, the State Department offers as many as 55,000 diversity visas to residents of countries that have low rates of immigration to the United States. Writing in the Huffington Post, Aggie Hoffman, a specialist in U.S. immigration law, described the lottery as an easy, fast and inexpensive way to get a green card.

Registration for the lottery can be completed through the State Department website. In addition to coming from a qualifying country, lottery applicants must meet other eligibility criteria. These include having at least a high school education or its equivalent and having two years of work experience in a skilled profession within the last five years. Each winner’s spouse and children under 21 are also granted green cards through the program.

Legal resident aliens from qualifying countries can also apply for the program, in order to adjust their immigration status.

The winners of the 2012 lottery were chosen from about 14.8 million entries, the State Department reported, with winners coming from locations as diverse as Egypt (4,664 winners), Bangladesh (2,373), Albania (1,508) and Argentina (101).