There are many ways to legally immigrate to the United States, but did you know that only one of them depends completely on luck? The US Department of State has said the congressionally mandated visa lottery program is now offering 50,000 green cards to people from certain countries.
Called the US State Department’s Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, the lottery is open to countries with low rates of immigration to the United States, such as Malaysia, Belarus, and Algeria. A release from the State Department stated “in order to diversify the immigrant population of the US, participation is limited to countries with less than 50,000 new immigrants to the United States per year.”
To find out if you’re a citizen of a country that is eligible to apply, visit the State Department’s Diversity Visa page at http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_1318.html). The State Department noted that citizens from Mexico, Brazil, United Kingdom and China are not eligible to apply due to their “already high rates of immigration.”
The registration for the 2013 visa lottery started last October 4 and is scheduled to end on November 5, 2011. Participation is only available through the State Department’s website www.dvlottery.state.gov.
According to the State Department, there is no fee to apply and only one application is allowed per person (if an applicant is found to have applied more than once, he or she will be disqualified). Applicants are asked to provide photos with specific requirements as well as personal information such as your name, and place and date of birth. If the applicant is married, information about applicant’s spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 also need to be provided.
In addition, the State Department requires applicants need to have at least a high school education or its equivalent; or have worked two of the last five years in a job that required at least two years of training.
The US State Department also said a computer will select winners randomly.
For those interested in participating in the visa lottery, the State Department offers the following advice:
What to Do after Enrolling
Once you have registered, make sure to print the confirmation page and store it in a safe place. You will need this information later to check your status. The Department of State will notify the winners directly. Everyone will be able to check their status starting May 1, 2012 on the Department of State website.
People who were not chosen can participate in the program the following year and as long as the program is available.
How to Avoid Being Disqualified
To avoid being disqualified be sure to follow all of the instructions outlined in the entry form.
Provide all of the information that is asked. Omitting certain information could lead to future complications. For example, if you don’t claim to have children and are selected for a green card, it will be impossible to immigrate any children you may have.
Common mistakes include identifying yourself as a citizen of the wrong country or filling out more than one entry. Be sure to keep record of your confirmation number, which is given to you when you enroll. People who lose this number will not be able to check their status.
How to Avoid Fraud
The Department of State has issued several warnings about fraudulent websites that pretend to be government sites. These portals falsely promise to improve your chances of being selected.
Some websites even use official looking seals and flags to make them look legitimate, and many also charge for their services. These things should be warning signs: participation in the Diversity Visa Lottery is free and the Department of State’s Diversity Visa lottery website at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov/ is the only place where you can fill out an entry form.
The State Department confirmed that USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov are the US government’s official web portals in English and Spanish, and part of the US General Services Administration (GSA).