2009 Diversity Visa Lottery Registration begins Oct 3, 2007

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has announced that it will accept 2009 Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery applications from noon Eastern Time (ET) on October 3, 2007 to noon ET on December 2, 2007. The only acceptable way to apply is through the DOS online system, which will be available at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov/, once the lottery registration begins. The DV Lottery Program is limited to persons from countries that are not well represented through other forms of immigration. Detailed instructions for the prior year’s lottery are available on the DOS WebSite. These instructions are for FY2008, not 2009. Therefore, they should be viewed only as a guideline at this time. The FY2009 instructions should be followed, once published.

Ineligible Countries under the DV Lottery Program

Persons from countries that have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. over the past five years are not eligible to apply under the DV Program. The list of countries ineligible in 2008 was: Brazil, Canada, mainland China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Korea, United Kingdom (including its dependent territories, except for Northern Ireland), and Vietnam. Persons from these countries were NOT eligible to apply under last year’s DV Program. As mentioned, we await detailed guidance on the list of countries not eligible under the 2009 DV Program.

Exception for Certain Nationals of Ineligible Countries

A person from one of the otherwise ineligible countries still might be eligible if s/he has a spouse who was born in a qualifying country. In such cases, the individual could apply with his/her spouse. Alternatively, if a person was born in one of the ineligible countries, but his or her parent/s were not born in that country and did not reside there at the time of the birth; the individual may be eligible to apply, based upon the country of birth of one of the parents. More details on this can be found in the instructions, referenced above.

Educational / Work Experience Required

There are minimum educational requirements for lottery applicants. In order to be eligible, it is necessary to have either a high school education or its equivalent, or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform. The instructions contain further information as to how eligibility can be determined under the education and experience requirements.

Fraud Warnings : Use Official Registration Form ONLY

The DOS announcement contains a fraud warning. Every year, there is a prevalence of scams and schemes, seeking to take advantage of unsuspecting applicants surrounding the DV Lottery Program. To avoid becoming a victim, keep in mind that all applications must be submitted only through the DOS official government website link (above). Additionally, only those who apply and are otherwise eligible can be selected. There is no fee for applying. If selected, the only fees that need to be paid are government filing fees for the Adjustment of Status forms or for the immigrant visa issuance at a consulate abroad.

Increase Chance of Success by Filing Early

Potential applicants should review the instructions carefully and comply with them in all respects. Do not submit more than one application, as that will lead to rejection. Avoid waiting until the last minute, as the capacity of the online system could become overtaxed as the deadline for registration period draws near. The photograph instructions should be followed closely.

Selection of “Winners” for Green Card

Once the entries are received, “winners” will be determined by random computer selection. Those selected will be contacted by U.S. mail – not by eMail or any other method. The DOS does not send notifications to those persons who are NOT selected. Selection is just the first step. Those selected must pursue adjustment of status to permanent residence or consular processing for an immigrant visa abroad. In order to obtain permanent residence through the green card lottery, a person must be otherwise eligible for adjustment of status or consular processing. Those who have committed certain immigration violations, and/or who have criminal histories, may not be eligible to obtain permanent residence. Questions on these and other issues regarding the DV Lottery should be discussed with an experienced, qualified immigration attorney.


Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.