The U.S. Department of State (DOS) will open registration for the 2014 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV-2014) on October 2, 2012. The program is also known as the “Green Card Lottery.” Registration will remain open until November 3. Prospective immigrants from qualifying countries must submit an application electronically through the DOS website during that time period. Applicants who meet the criteria for the program may then be eligible for one of 55,000 immigrant visas. Selection in the lottery does not guarantee that an applicant will receive a green card, making the overall probability of any individual obtaining a green card through the program rather low.
Congress created the Diversity Visa (DV) program as a way of providing immigration opportunities to countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. It creates a separate class of immigrants, “diversity immigrants,” in addition to family- and employment-based immigrants. The first diversity visas were available for the 1995 fiscal year. A total of 55,000 immigrant visas are available through the DV program every year. Available visas are apportioned among six geographic regions: Africa; Asia; Europe; North America; Oceania; and the Caribbean, Central and South America. Beginning in fiscal year 2000, five thousand diversity visas are reserved for use under the program established by the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA).
To qualify for a diversity visa, an applicant must meet a work/education requirement. This can include a high school diploma or its equivalent, or two years of work during the previous five years in a job that requires two years of either training or prior work experience. No more than seven percent of the total number of diversity visas may go to nationals of any one country. People from countries that have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the previous five-year period are ineligible for the program in that particular year. DOS revises the list of ineligible countries annually. Eighteen countries are expected to be ineligible for the DV program for the upcoming registration period, including Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, and the United Kingdom (not including Northern Ireland).
DOS recently completed its review of applications received for fiscal year 2013. It received 12,577,355 qualified applications during the registration period in 2011. People selected in the 2013 lottery have until September 30, 2013 to obtain their visa. The countries with the most applicants from each region were as follows:
Africa: Nigeria, 6,218 Asia: Iran, 6,029 Europe: Ukraine, 6,424 Oceania: Australia, 1,035 Central and South America and the Caribbean: Cuba, 490 North America: The Bahamas (the only country with applicants in the region), 16
The DV program has unfortunately attracted a large number of scammers in recent years, many of whom take advantage of the fact that all registration is conducted over the internet. DOS has resources available to help prospective immigrants understand the correct procedures and avoid scams.
Samuel C. Berger, P.C. helps immigrants seeking visas through family members or employment, and helps New York or New Jersey businesses petition for skilled immigrant employees. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today, contact us online, or call (212) 380-8117.
More Blog Posts:
Understanding the State Department’s Monthly Visa Bulletin, New York & New Jersey Immigration Lawyer Blog, August 9, 2012
New Jersey Woman Accused of Offering Fraudulent Legal Services to Immigrants, New York & New Jersey Immigration Lawyer Blog, March 8, 2012
Federal Officials Launch Immigration Scam Education Campaign, New York & New Jersey Immigration Lawyer Blog, December 22, 2011
Photo credit: ‘DV eligible countries’ by Heitordp [Public domain], via Wikipedia.