Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery

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 provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants”. Section 203(c) of the INA provides a maximum of up to 55,000 Diversity Visas (DV) each fiscal year to be made available to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The annual DV program makes diversity immigrant visas available to persons meeting the simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. A computer-generated random lottery drawing chooses selectees for diversity visas. 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 nationals of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. over the period of 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.

For DV-2009, 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. over the period of the previous five years: BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PHILIPPINES, PERU, POLAND, 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.

Diversity Visa Registration Period

Entries for the DV-2009 Diversity Visa lottery must be submitted electronically between noon Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Wednesday, October 3, 2007 and noon Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5) Sunday, December 2, 2007. Applicants may access the electronic Diversity Visa entry form at www.dvlottery.state.gov during the registration period. Paper entries will not be accepted. Applicants are strongly encouraged not to wait until the last week of the registration period to enter. Heavy demand may result in website delays. No entries will be accepted after noon EST on December 2, 2007.

NOTE: If you have employees who are considering or beginning the process of seeking permanent residence, it is a good idea to investigate whether they are eligible for the lottery. If so, and if they are selected, considerable time, effort and cost can be saved in gaining permanent resident status. Not everyone is eligible and it may be disadvantageous for holders of certain nonimmigrant visas who may be then considered to have made an application for permanent residence and find difficulty in renewing the temporary visa. You may contact our office with further information.