Applications for the 2006 Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery will be accepted between November 5, 2004 and January 7, 2005. Persons seeking to apply must register electronically, online through the designated website, www.dvlottery.state.gov. (This website will not be operational until November 5, 2004.) The 2006 Diversity Visa Lottery marks the second year that electronic registration is required. Paper entries and mail-in requests for Diversity Visa Lottery registration are not accepted.
The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered on an annual basis by the Department of State and conducted under the terms of Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Section 131 of the Immigration Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-649) amended INA 203 to provide for a new class of immigrants known as "diversity immigrants" (DV immigrants). The Act makes available 50,000 permanent resident visas annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. For more information about the DV program, see http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2004/36613.htm .
The annual DV program makes permanent residence visas available to persons meeting the simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. Diversity Visa entries are chosen by a computer-generated random lottery drawing. The visas, however, 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 citizens of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the past five years. Within each region, no one country may receive more than seven percent of the available Diversity Visas in any one year.
What Countries are not Eligible?
For DV-2006, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because they sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the previous five years:
CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EL SALVADOR, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PHILIPPINES, RUSSIA, 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.
What Does it Mean to be a "Native" of a Country?
In most cases "native" means the country in which the applicant was born. However, there are two other ways that a person may be able to qualify for the DV lottery. First, if a person was born in a country whose natives are ineligible but his or her spouse was born in a country whose natives are eligible, such person can claim the spouse's country of birth, provided both the applicant and spouse are issued visas and enter the U.S. together. Second, if a person was born in a country whose natives are ineligible, but neither of his or her parents was born there or resided there at the time of his/her birth, such person may claim nativity in one of the parents’ country of birth if it is a country whose natives qualify for the DV-2006 program. A person claiming nativity through one of these methods must indicate this clearly on the DV application.
What Other Requirements Apply?
An applicant 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 U.S. Department of Labor’s O*Net OnLine database will be used to determine qualifying work experience. If the applicant cannot meet these requirements, he or she should NOT submit an entry to the DV program.
How Do I Apply for the DV-2006 Lottery?
There is only one way to enter the DV-2006 lottery. Applicants must submit an Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form (EDV Entry Form), which is accessible only at www.dvlottery.state.gov, during the registration period beginning at 12:00 pm EST (GMT-5) on November 5, 2004 and ending at 12:00 pm EST (GMT-5) on January 7, 2005. All entries by an applicant will be disqualified if more than ONE entry for the applicant is received, regardless of who submitted the entry. Applicants may prepare and submit their own entries, or have someone submit the entry for them.
How Do I Know if I Won?
Applicants will be selected at random by computer from among all qualified entries. Those selected will be notified by mail between May and July 2005 and will be provided further instructions, including information on fees connected with immigration to the U.S. Persons not selected will NOT receive any notification. Spouses and unmarried children under age 21 of successful applicants may also apply for visas to accompany or follow to join the principal applicant. Processing of entries and issuance of diversity visas to successful applicants and their eligible family members MUST occur by midnight on September 30, 2006. Under no circumstances can diversity visas be issued or adjustments approved after this date, nor can family members obtain diversity visas to follow to join the applicant in the U.S. after this date.
© McCown & Evans LLP 2004