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News: Information on 2008 Diversity Visa Lottery

Information on 2008 Diversity Visa Lottery
The U.S. State Department has announced that applications for the 2008 Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery are now being accepted. Applicants may access the electronic Diversity Visa entry form during the registration period which ends at noon Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, December 3, 2006. (Click below for a direct link to the website). Paper entries will not be accepted. The State Department is strongly encouraging applicants not to wait until the last week of the registration period to enter because heavy demand is expected and will likely result in website delays.

Diversity visas are available through the congressionally-mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program which is administered on an annual basis by the Department of State. The program provides for a maximum of up to 55,000 Diversity Visas each fiscal year to be made available to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The State Department's National Visa Center holds the lottery every year, and chooses winners randomly from all qualified entries. Anyone who is selected under this lottery will be given the opportunity to apply for permanent residence. If permanent residence is granted, then the individual will be authorized to live and work permanently in the United States and will also be allowed to bring their spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 to the United States.

The visas are distributed among six geographic regions with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration. No diversity visas are given to nationals of countries that sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the period of the past five years. For this reason, for DV-2008, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply:

BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EL SALVADOR, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PHILIPPINES, PERU, POLAND, RUSSIA, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and VIETNAM. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible.

The State Department also warns of fraudulent websites posing as official U.S. Government websites that charge a fee for completing the entry form for an applicant. In fact, there is no charge to download and complete the electronic entry form.

Only the winners will be notified by mail at the addresses listed on their application. Winners will be sent instructions and information on fees. Being selected as a winner in the diversity visa lottery does not automatically guarantee that you will be issued a visa, even if you are qualified. The number of entries selected is greater than the number of immigrant visas available, because not everyone selected will be qualified for the visa or will choose to complete the processing. Once all 50,000 visas have been issued, the diversity visa program for the year will end.



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