Online registration for the U.S. diversity (DV) immigrant visa program for fiscal year 2016 will begin on October 1, 2014 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) and will remain open until Monday, November 3, 2014 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST). As in prior years, the U.S. government has made 50,000 immigrant visas available to qualified applicants through the DV program for fiscal year 2016 which starts October 1, 2015. Only one entry is allowed per person. Entries may be submitted online at www.dvlottery.state.gov.
The U.S. Department of State usually selects over 100,000 applicants as “winners.” However, less than half of these “winners” will actually be issued immigrant visas. Many applicants are disqualified for technical reasons, such as failure to meet the strict eligibility requirements, or because their application was not approved prior to the September 30th cut-off date.
In order to qualify, applicants must have been born in an eligible country. Those individuals born in Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam are not eligible to apply. However, individuals born in an ineligible country may qualify if 1) their spouse was born in an eligible country, or 2) if their parents were born in an eligible country and the parents were not legally resident in the individual’s country of birth under the so-called “missionary exception”. Additionally, to qualify applicants must have the equivalent of a U.S. high school education, or two years of qualifying work experience in the last five years.
If selected, the “winners” must complete the entire process and receive their immigrant visa by September 30, 2016. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Attorney representation is unnecessary to submit an entry for the DV program unless there are complications. However, if selected applicants are encouraged to speak with an attorney as soon as they are selected. No “winning” notifications are sent so in order to find out if an applicant is selected, it is important to retain the submission confirmation page and number to check the status of the entry. Winning notifications will be available starting May 5, 2015 at www.dvlottery.state.gov.
If you have questions regarding your eligibility for the DV program, please contact one of our attorneys. If you do want to have our firm submit your application, you can also download our firm’s DV Lottery packet. For more information about the DV Lottery, go to the DV Lottery section on our website.