Monday, September 29, 2014

Diversity Immigrant (DV-2016) Visa Program Announced

The Congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered annually by the Department of State. Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for a class of “diversity immigrants,” from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. For fiscal year 2016, 50,000 diversity visas (DVs) will be available. There is no cost to register for the DV program.

Applicants who are selected in the lottery (“selectees”) must meet simple, but strict, eligibility requirements in order to qualify for a diversity visa. Selectees are chosen through a randomized computer drawing. 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.

For DV-2016, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply, because more than 50,000 natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years:

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.

Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.

There are no changes in eligibility this year.

Entry period:

Entries for the DV-2016 DV program must be submitted electronically at www.dvlottery.state.gov between noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Wednesday, October 1, 2014, and noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5), Monday, November 3, 2014.

Do not wait until the last week of the registration period to enter, as heavy demand may result in website delays. No late entries or paper entries will be accepted. The law allows only one entry by or for each person during each registration period. The Department of State uses sophisticated technology to detect multiple entries. Individuals with more than one entry will be disqualified.

Completing your Electronic Entry for the DV-2016 Program:

Submit your Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form (E-DV Entry Form or DS-5501), online at www.dvlottery.state.gov. Incomplete entries will not be accepted. There is no cost to register for the DV Program.

You are strongly encouraged to complete the entry form yourself, without a “visa consultant,” “visa agent,” or other facilitator who offers to help. If somebody else helps you, you should be present when your entry is prepared so that you can provide the correct answers to the questions and retain the confirmation page and your unique confirmation number.

It is extremely important that you retain your confirmation page and confirmation number. Without this information, you will not be able to access the online system that will inform you of the status of your entry. Think carefully if someone else offers to keep this information for you. You also should retain access to the email account listed in the E-DV.

After you submit a complete entry, you will see a confirmation screen containing your name and a unique confirmation number. Print this confirmation screen for your records. Starting May 5, 2015, you will be able to check the status of your entry by returning to www.dvlottery.state.gov, clicking on Entrant Status Check, and entering your unique confirmation number and personal information.

Entrant Status Check will be the sole means of informing you of your selection for DV-2016, providing instructions on how to proceed with your application, and notifying you of your appointment for your immigrant visa interview.

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