Immigration News Flash: United States Diversity Visa Lottery Registration Opens Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 at Noon EDT and Will Close on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 at Noon EDT

by Proskauer Rose LLP
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The Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery Registration for the next cycle of this popular program opens Tuesday, October 1, 2013. Entries must be submitted electronically at https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/ between noon on October 1, 2013, and noon on November 2, 2013, Eastern Standard Time. Qualified applicants are strongly encouraged to register as early as possible. Heavy demand may result in system delays in the final days of the registration period.

The DV Lottery is administered annually by the Department of State, and provides for a maximum of 55,000 immigrant visas (green cards) each year to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the U.S. For the upcoming cycle, 50,000 DVs will be available. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions, with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration, and with no visas going to natives of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the past five years.

Who Can Enter?

Natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. Natives of Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible. New this year: natives of Nigeria are no longer eligible for selection.

People who cannot register because their country of birth is excluded may be able to qualify through a spouse who was born in an eligible country. Also new this year: same sex spouses are eligible as DV lottery applicants.

In addition, successful registrants must have either a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education; or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform the job.

How to Enter?

A foreign national must submit an online form and a digital photo through the official DV lottery website. Only one entry is permitted per person. If there are multiple registrations on behalf of one person, all of them are disqualified.

All DV Lottery entrants will be required to visit the E-DV Entrant Status Check website to find out whether or not their entry has been selected in the DV Lottery. Selectees will be notified of their selection through the Entry Status Check available starting May 1, 2014. Selectees will be directed to a confirmation page that will provide further instructions, including information on fees connected with immigration to the United States. Selectees will be able to apply for permanent residence in fiscal year 2014, which is October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2015. The E-DV Entry Status Check website will be the only means by which selectees will be notified of their selection for the DV Lottery. To guard against fraud, please note the official website is the only legitimate source for lottery entrants.

Future of DV Lottery Uncertain:

The DV lottery system will run again this year, but there have been legislative efforts to eliminate the program. In June 2013, the Senate and the House Judiciary Committee approved separate bills to end the program. Concurrent views from the Senate and the House on this topic indicates that discontinuation of the DV program in the future is possible.

Complete instructions may be found here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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