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Green and Spiegel - An Immigration Law Firm - United States
Sep 26, 2016

Diversity Visa Application Period Set to Open October 4, 2016

Matthew Galati

The U.S. Department of State has published in the federal register (81 FR 63841, 9/16/16) that the FY 2018 Diversity Immigrant Visa program will begin to accept applications on October 4, 2016. The application window closes on November 7, 2016. Qualified applicants may apply online.

By way of background, the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, sometimes called the “Green Card Lottery,” randomly awards approximately 50,000 Green Cards to qualified visa applicants selected from a pool of filings each year. Individuals born in “low admission states,” that is, countries from where annual immigration to the United States is comparatively low, may apply. Filings are made electronically at https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/. In order to qualify, a principal applicant must also possess 1) a high school diploma or 2) within 5 years of making the application, at least 2 years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least 2 years’ training or experience.

Given these relatively modest requirements, the DV Program may provide a path to a Green Card for many individuals and their families who may not otherwise qualify for permanent residence based on family, employment, or investment categories. Notably however, the odds of selection are relatively low, generally less than 1% worldwide. An applicant’s specific chances may vary significantly based on his/her region of origin, however, the chances of selection are generally too low for one to confidently plan to use the program as a viable immigration option. Nonetheless, the DV lottery has proven to be life changing for thousands of winners each year.

It is critically important for one to carefully review the Diversity Visa instructions, which also includes a list of eligible countries, and follow them closely to ensure that an otherwise approvable entry is not disqualified for technical reasons. Notifications of selections are generally made in May following the closing of entry acceptance.

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