The annual U.S. Department of State Diversity Visa Lottery (DV-2013) began today, Tuesday, October 4, 2011, at noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and will end on Saturday, November 5, 2011, at noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4). This annual lottery awards immigrant visas and green cards (U.S. lawful permanent residence) to roughly 50,000 people each year. Notifications, however, go out to as many as 100,000 lottery “winners,” because not all of the winners will get their immigrant visas or green cards in the end. NOT ALL COUNTRIES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR THE LOTTERY.
Winning the lottery does not automatically result in an immigrant visa or a green card. Winners outside the U.S. must complete the visa application process, while winners legally in the U.S. can “adjust status” to become lawful permanent residents. All lottery winners must meet the grounds for admissibility to become permanent residents, and all must have the equivalent of a U.S. high school diploma, or have worked at least two years during the last five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of education, training, or experience.
Important note: “Winners” are assigned numbers which determine when they can begin the visa application or green card process. Winners must process their “wins” between October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013. Each month the Visa Bulletin, announces the cut-off numbers for that month, starting in October 2012 with the lowest numbers first. Winners with high numbers may not be eligible to apply for visas or green cards until the last few months in which these are available, and therefore may not be able to complete the process in time.
There is no charge to download and complete the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form from the State Department website. People can register for DV2013 by themselves, or they can do so with the help of immigration attorneys. Beware of the DV 2013 scammers! More information on DV 2013 can be found here.