Lady Luck: “Winning” the Diversity Visa Lottery

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Lady Luck:  “Winning” the Diversity Visa Lottery

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The Diversity Visa Lottery is a congressionally mandated system that provides immigrant visas to randomly selected individuals from regions and countries around the globe with historically low numbers of immigrants to the United States. For Fiscal Year 2018 (which runs from October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018), 50,000 immigrant visa numbers are available to individuals and qualified family members from qualifying countries if those individuals register for the Diversity Visa.

On September 16, 2016, the U.S. State Department announced the procedures for enrolling in the Diversity Visa Lottery for FY 2018.

In order to qualify for the Diversity Visa, an applicant must:
1) be a native of a qualifying country (listed below); and
2) have a high school diploma or its equivalent or at least two years of work experience within the last five years in an   occupation that requires at least two years of training and experience to perform the job duties; and
3) be otherwise admissible to the United States.

To be selected for the Diversity Visa lottery, individuals from qualifying countries must register for the Diversity Visa program by electronically submitting Form DS-5501 at the following website:

Between October 4, 2016 and November 7, 2016, each qualified applicant must submit Form DS-5501 and a digital photograph on-line at  www.dvlottery.state.gov  The Department of State does not accept paper applications and all late applications will be rejected.

Upon submitting the DS-5501 at www.dvlottery.state.gov, each applicant will receive a unique Confirmation Number that they must retain and use to check the system and whether they have been selected for a Diversity Visa for FY 2018.

Between May 2, 2017 and September 30, 2018, Applicants will be able to check the status of their Diversity Visa Lottery application confirmation number to ascertain whether they have been selected through the State Department’s Entrant Status Check webpage. This is the only manner in which applicants can find out whether they have been selected. Thus, it is critical that Diversity Visa applicants retain their confirmation number and check the status of their application regularly starting on May 2, 2017.

Individuals who are selected in the Diversity Visa lottery will be eligible to use their Diversity Visa numbers to apply for their immigrant visas at a U.S. Embassy or Consular Post abroad or adjustment of status in the United States (if otherwise qualified) as the pre-assigned Diversity Visa numbers become available each month during Fiscal Year 2018.

The availability of Diversity Visa numbers is published each month by the State Department in its monthly Visa Bulletin, available at:https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/law-and-policy/bulletin.html

Importantly, those selected in the Diversity Visa lottery for FY 2018 must have their Diversity Visa number become current and apply for the Diversity Visa or Adjustment of Status (if in the United States and otherwise qualified) prior to the end of FY 2018 on September 30, 2018.

Please see the following website for the most up to date list of countries that qualify: www.dvlottery.state.gov .

As always, please call the Joseph & Hall P.C. to schedule an appointment with an attorney if you have any questions. Thank you.

Africa: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Asia: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bhutan, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

Europe: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Vatican City.

Oceana: Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Federated States of Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

Central & South America: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela.

North America: Bahamas.


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