Posts Tagged ‘lottery’

Golden Ticket: Diversity Visa Lottery

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

From October 2 through November 30, 2009, you have a chance to win the lottery.  Instead of cash prizes or a trip to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, you have the chance to win legal permanent residence in the U.S. through the U.S. Department of State’s Diversity Visa Lottery program.  And, unlike other lotteries, there is no cost to participate.  While the chances of winning might be low, the old adage remains true:  You can’t win unless you play.”

Each year, the U.S. Department of State makes 55,000 permanent resident immigrant visas available through a random selection process.  The visas are apportioned among six geographic areas that cover most of the world.  However, natives from the following countries are ineligible to participate:  Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Columbia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.  If you were born in one of these countries, you still may be eligible if your spouse is from an eligible country or if other specific conditions apply. 

The requirements for participating are simple:  you have to be a native from an eligible country and you must have a high school education or its equivalent.  Alternatively, in lieu of a high school diploma, you can qualify by satisfying certain work experience requirements. 

To submit an entry, an eligible person must complete an entry form online by visiting the Department of State’s website.  Be aware of fraudulent websites that require payment.  Remember, there is no cost to participate.  Participants may only submit one entry form or risk disqualification.  The form requires basic biographic information, such as date of birth and marital status.  The form also requires that you submit a digital photograph of everyone you list on the form, including yourself and any spouse and children. 

The U.S. Department of State notifies winners between May and July 2010 through a letter.  The letter will provide further instructions on how to immigrate to the U.S.  You should note, however, that receiving a letter does not automatically guaranty permanent residency.  The U.S. Department of State often selects more than 55,000 winners because not everyone selected will actually decide to pursue legal residency.   Of course, if you do receive a letter, you’re that much closer to securing permanent residency.