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Vedder Thinking | Articles It's Time to Register for the 2015 Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery!


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On October 1, 2013, the U.S. Department of State will begin accepting requests to register for the 2015 Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery program (DV-2015), also known as the Green Card Lottery. The Green Card Lottery program provides a path for foreign nationals to become permanent residents of the United States regardless of whether they have a family member or an employer willing to sponsor them. This program has been a success, facilitating the immigration of people from across the globe. If you meet the eligibility requirements and wish to secure permanent residence status in the United States, you should consider registration in the lottery.

Registration begins October 1, 2013

The State Department will open online registration for the DV-2015 Program on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and it will conclude on Saturday, November 2, 2013 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4). Any individual who meets the eligibility requirements and submits an application during the appointed time will be entered into a lottery from which 55‚000 green card entries will be selected. Diversity visas are distributed among six geographic regions, and no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available DVs in any one year.

Applications must be submitted electronically by 12:00 noon EST on Saturday‚ November 2‚ 2013. Detailed instructions are available online at Entries may not be submitted through the U.S. Postal Service.

What countries are eligible?

Lottery visas are apportioned to foreign nationals hailing from the following six geographic regions: Africa; Asia; Europe; North America; Oceania; and South America‚ Central America and the Caribbean. To qualify‚ a foreign national must claim nativity or country of birth in an eligible country and meet certain education or work experience requirements. The purpose of the program is to diversify and encourage immigration from countries that send lower numbers of immigrants to the United States.

Not all countries in the six eligible regions may be included within the Green Card Lottery program. Because each of the following countries has sent more than 50‚000 immigrants to the United States in the past five years, natives of these countries will not be eligible for the DV-2015 Lottery: 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.

For the DV-2015, Nigeria was added to this list of countries ineligible for the lottery.

How much does it cost to enter the Diversity Lottery Program?

There is currently no fee charged for submitting an entry to the Diversity Lottery Program. However, if you are selected and apply for a Diversity Visa, you must pay all required visa fees at the time of visa application.

I am currently in the United States; may I enter the Green Card Lottery program?

Yes, an applicant may be in the United States or in another country, and the entry may be submitted from anywhere.

Can I only enter once during the registration period?

Yes, the law allows only one entry by or for each person during the registration period. The Department of State uses sophisticated technology to detect multiple entries. If you submit more than one entry, you will be disqualified.

May my spouse and I each submit a separate entry?

Yes, you may each submit one entry if each meets the eligibility requirements. If either spouse is selected, the other is entitled to apply as a derivative dependent. Same-sex spouses, along with their minor children, are eligible for the same immigration benefits as opposite-sex spouses.

How will I know if I was selected in the lottery?

Based on the allocations of available visas in each region and country, individuals will be randomly selected by computer from among qualified entries. All DV-2015 entrants will be required to go to the Entrant Status Check using the unique confirmation number saved from their DV-2015 online entry registration to find out whether their entry has been selected in the DV program. Entrant Status Check will be available on the E-DV website at starting May 1, 2014, through at least June 30, 2015.

Please note that the Department of State does not send selectee notifications or letters by regular postal mail or by e-mail. Any e-mail notification or mailed letter stating that you have been selected to receive a DV does not come from the Department of State and is not legitimate. Any e-mail communication you receive from the Department of State will direct you to review Entrant Status Check for new information about your application.

Am I eligible for a green card if I am selected in the lottery?

Selection in the lottery does not guarantee the applicant a green card. Applicants who are selected in the lottery (selectees) must meet simple, but strict, eligibility requirements in order to qualify for a diversity visa. Immediate family members of successful lottery applicants are eligible for green cards as well, provided they meet the same admissibility standards. Individuals who are selected and eligible for one of the 55,000 visa numbers may either secure an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate or, if they are in the United States and qualified to do so, adjust their status by filing an application and supporting documentation with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

If I am selected, during what period am I entitled to apply for a Diversity Visa?

If you are selected in the DV-2015 program, you are entitled to apply for visa issuance only during U.S. government fiscal year 2015, which spans from October 1, 2014, through September 30, 2015. All processing of entries and issuance of DVs to selectees meeting eligibility requirements and their eligible family members must be completed by midnight on September 30, 2015. Without exception, all selected and eligible applicants must obtain their visa or adjust status by the end of fiscal year 2015. Further, after September 30, 2015, family members are not eligible to obtain DVs to follow-to-join the principal applicant in the United States.

If you have any questions regarding the Green Card Lottery, please contact Gabrielle M. Buckley at +1 (312) 609 7626, Sara B. DeBlaze at +1 (312) 609 7534 or any other Vedder Price attorney with whom you have worked.


Sara B. DeBlaze