Each year, 50,000 immigrant visas are made available through a Diversity Visa Lottery to people who are natives of countries (typically a person’s country of birth) with low rates of immigration to the United States. The State Department’s National Visa Center holds the lottery every year, and chooses winners randomly from all qualified entries.
Entries for this year’s Diversity Visa Lottery, for fiscal year 2012, must be submitted electronically between noon, Eastern Daylight Time, Tuesday, October 5, 2010, and noon, Eastern Standard Time, Wednesday, November 3, 2010.
A lottery applicant who is selected in the Diversity Visa Lottery will be given the opportunity to then apply for permanent residence on his/her own behalf and on behalf of his/her spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21. If permanent residence is granted (i.e., the issuance of a “green card”) to a lottery winner, then the lottery winner will be authorized to live and work permanently in the United States.
A lottery applicant must possess either a high school diploma or two years of qualifying work experience within the past five years.
Please note that spouses can each file a lottery application if they each meet the eligibility requirements independently. If one spouse is selected, both will be eligible for green cards, as will all of their minor children.
Applicants currently possessing H or L visas need not worry about concurrently stating immigrant and nonimmigrant intent. Applicants currently possessing other types of visas should review this issue carefully before applying for the lottery.
Natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply for permanent resident visas through the Diversity Visa Lottery: Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Columbia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.
Please check out www.dvlottery.state.gov,for additional information on the Diversity Visa Lottery as well as the Lottery Entry Form that can be completed online.