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Diversity Visa (DV) Program, Green Card Lottery

Overview: The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program makes available up to 55,000 diversity visas (DVs) annually, drawn from random selection among all entries to persons who meet strict eligibility requirements from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

The lottery is administered on an annual basis by the Department of State and conducted under the terms of Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

Statistics: Applicants registered for the DV-2010 program were selected at random from over 13.6 million qualified entries received during the 60 day application period that ran from noon on October 2, 2008, until noon, December 1, 2008.

Important Development
On July 21, 2011, the House Judiciary Committee approved the Security and Fairness Enhancement (SAFE) for America Act (H.R. 704), a bill that eliminates the diversity visa program. This program is plagued by fraud and is an open door for terrorists. The bill, sponsored by Intellectual Property Subcommittee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), was reported favorably to the House floor by a vote of 19-11.

Ineligible countries
Those born in any territory that has sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the previous five years are not eligible to receive a diversity visa.

For DV-2013, natives of the following nations are ineligible: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. The entry period to apply for the DV-2013 is from October 4, 2011 to November 5, 2011.

False and Scam
There is no charge to enter the diversity visa lottery, and the only way to do so is by completing and sending the electronic form available at the U.S. Department of State's website during the registration period. However, there are numerous companies and websites that charge a fee in order to complete the form for the applicant. The Department of State and the Federal Trade Commission have warned that some of these businesses falsely claim to increase someone's chances of winning the lottery, or that they are affiliated with the U.S. government

There have also been numerous cases of fraudulent emails and letters which falsely claim to have been sent by the Department of State and that the recipient has been granted a Permanent Resident Card.


Last Updated: 8/29/2014.


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