Diversity Visa Program for 2017:

Eligibility and Application Process

The US Department of State began accepting applications for the Diversity Visa program on October 1, 2015. The Diversity Visa program provides 50,000 visas for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants” from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. Eligibility for such a visa is based on two very simple, but very strict, requirements.

Requirement #1: Individuals born in countries whose natives qualify may be eligible to enter. There are many countries that are eligible for this program. In fact it is easier to list those that are NOT eligible rather than those that are. Those countries whose natives may NOT apply for the 2017 Diversity Visa (DV) Program are:

• Bangladesh • Brazil • Canada • China (mainland born) • Columbia • Dominican Republic • Ecuador • El Salvador • Haiti • India • Jamaica • Mexico • Nigeria • Pakistan • Peru • Philippines • South Korea • United Kingdom, which includes the following areas: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Island, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena, and Turks and Caicos. Northern Island is eligible. • Vietnam

If you were born in one of these ineligible areas, you may still apply if your spouse was born in an eligible country or if your parents were not natives or legal residents of the country of your birth at the time you were born. If either of these applies to you, then you may use this country to establish eligibility.

Requirement #2: Each DV applicant must have either a high school diploma or its equivalent or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform. A high school diploma or its equivalent is defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of formal elementary and secondary education. General Equivalency Diplomas (G.E.Ds) do not qualify.

Application Procedure

If you meet the two above requirements, then you may apply for a Diversity Visa online at www.dvlottery.state.gov beginning at 12 noon EST on October 1, 2015 and ending at 12 noon EST on November 3, 2015. This is the only way to apply for a DV. Paper applications will not be accepted. Multiple entries will be rejected and disqualify you for this year’s program.

You will have a strict 60 minutes to submit your application, so you will need to have certain information available when you start the process. This information includes: • Name • Gender • Birth date • City of birth • Country of birth • Country of eligibility – this may not necessarily be the country of birth • Photographs – passport-style photographs for each person listed on the application • Mailing address • Country where you currently reside • Phone number • Email address • Highest level of education • Current marital status • Number of children – all unmarried children under the age of 21 who are natural children, legally adopted children, or step-children (even if the applicant is no longer married to the child’s parent)

Selection of Applicants:

Beginning on May 3, 2016, you may check to see if they have been selected via the Entrant Status Check using your confirmation number at www.dvlottery.state.gov. This is the only way to know if you have been selected to continue in the process; emails and/or paper letters will not be sent. U.S. embassies and consulates will not provide a list of selectees and cannot check the status of an application.

Selection of applicants is done randomly using a computer program. This program divides the applications according to region and country, then randomly selects applications until that country’s number of eligible visa’s has been selected. More than 50,000 applications are selected, as some selected applications will fail to meet other visa eligibility criteria or will become disqualified in some other way during the process.

Selection does not guarantee a visa, so once an application is selected, the applicant must act promptly to give themselves the best chance to make it through the process before September 30, 2017, when the DV-2017 program ends.

Once an application is selected, the applicant must still meet all eligibility requirements for a visa under U.S. law, including proof that you will not become dependent on public assistance upon moving to the United States. These requirements may significantly increase the level of scrutiny required and time necessary for processing a visa.

The time to apply is now! Good luck!

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