The Immigration Act of 1990 had a huge impact on immigration law in the United States. It revised policies regarding deportation, authorized temporary protected status to non-citizens of certain countries, changed the Visa Waiver Program, and – maybe most importantly – established the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program.
The Diversity Visa Lottery Program makes about 55,000 permanent resident visas available every year to natives of countries who have low rates of immigration to the United States. The lottery is administered by the U.S. Department of State. From an operational standpoint, people from most countries are allowed to apply for the visa program. The list of non-qualifying countries is much shorter, and as of last year included people from Brazil, Bangladesh, Mexico, Canada, and Vietnam. Non-qualifying countries can change year to year, depending on immigration rates. For example, Nigerians were added to the non-qualifying list last year.
In addition to being from a qualifying country, applicants must also either have a high school diploma or its equivalent, or have at least two year of job experience within the last five years. Although having a job already set up in the United States is not a requirement, the individual must show that he or she has a means of support.
The Application Process
Unfortunately, the application much different than the lottery we play in the U.S. to win money. First and foremost, the application process is free. If an applicant is asked to pay a fee for the application through a third party or asked to pay a fee for special help, the third party is probably running a scam. An applicant can apply once per year, and must submit an application called a DV-2015. The application period is usually in the fall of each year. More information on how to fill out the DV-2015 and the types of paper work that are needed can be found here.
Finally, even if an applicant “wins” the lottery, it does not necessarily mean that the applicant will actually receive a visa. The State Department typically announces more winners than there are spots, so applicants must quickly get in touch with the State Department and USCIS to follow up about their application. If the applicant does not do this, he or she may be out of luck, as the U.S. could run out of cards for that year.
If you happen to win the Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery, or if you know someone who has, you should contact an experienced DuPage immigration attorney immediately. Working with USCIS and the State Department, and showing that the applicant should not be disqualified is a complex process. Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help navigate this process with applicants to help ensure the proper outcome.