DIVERSITY VISA PROGRAM
("Lottery")

203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 ("Act"), Pub. L. No. 82-414, 66 Stat. 163,
8 U.S.C. 1153.

(c) 1999 VIKRAM BADRINATH, P.C. All rights reserved.


Introduction

Every fiscal year, the United States government issues 55,000 immigrant Diversity Visas ("DV") pursuant to a lottery-type program implemented by the U.S. Department of State ("DOS"). Succesful aliens who are randomly choosen under this program may apply for Lawful Permanent Resident Status at the beginning of the following fiscal year. In this regard, it should be noted that the United States fiscal year begins on October 1st and ends on September 30th.

Diversity Visas are available only to natives of the foreign states identified as "low admission" states by the U.S. Department of State. A "native" is a person who has been born in the foreign state. However, please note that if an alien was born in a state in which neither parent was born or resident at the time of the person’s birth, the applicant may still claim the birth place of either parent for DV lottery purposes. The following countries are not currently eligible for the DV program: Canada, China (mainland and Taiwan, except Hon Kong S.A.R.), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Phillipines, Poland, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, Vietnam.

All applicants must meet certain education/training requirements of the DV program. These requirements include the following: Each applicant must conclusively demonstrate (1) that they possess either a high school education or its equivalent; or (2) that they have had at least two (2) years’ work experience within the last five (5) years in a profession that requires at least two (2) years of training or experience.

Application Procedure

When the DV lottery is announced each year, specific instructions for applicants are announced as well. Generally, an applicant must only submit a sheet of plain paper with certain information, such as the applicant’s full name, place and date of birth, and other biographic iinformation regarding a spouse or minor children, typed or neatly printed. In addition, an applicant must provide a recent (within 30 days) passport-type photograph; this photograph must be attached to the application and must bear the applicant’s name printed across the back of the photograph. The application must be personally signed. The original application and photograph must be sent to the designated post office box address for the alien's country of birth.

All qualifying envelopes received during the registration period will be individually numbered and entries will be selected at random by computer, regardless of the time of receipt or other. All selected entries will be registered electronically by computer, and applicants will be notified of such selection.

Succesful applicants will be notified that they must file an Application for an Immigrant Visa either at the nearest United States Consulate or, if in the United States and eligible (e.g., "in-status", with some exceptions) by filing an Application for Adjustment of Status (Form I-485) with a local U.S. INS office. (See "Adjustment of Status").

Insofar as the U.S. DOS will select more than 55,000, successful aliens, all interested applicants should file as early and in advance as possible in order to avoid losing the opportunity to apply.

For more information about Diversity Visas, please contact us by email, telephone, or fax or schedule an appointment to have your individual case discussed and analyzed by an attorney.