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Enter Now to Win the Green Card Lottery

by Carolyn Mason, Contributor

The Diversity Immigrant Visa program is an annual lottery, conducted by the State Department, to distribute applications for 50,000 diversity visas (DV). Winners are randomly selected from on-line entries and there is no fee to enter. There are, however, strict eligibility requirements: entrants must be from countries with low immigration rates to the U.S. (see below), as this is the purpose of the program. Winning the lottery entitles the entrant to apply for an immigrant visa to enter the U.S., which is why the lottery is sometimes called the “Green Card Lottery.”

Entries are now being accepted, and the deadline for entering is November 30, 2009, at 12 noon Eastern Standard Time. Applicants must enter on-line at www.dvlottery.state.gov

Who may enter? Applicants must meet requirements in two categories:

Natives of the qualified countries may enter, as well as their spouses, as long as both native and spouse are on the same entry, are issued visas, and enter the U.S. at the same time. Alternatively, if you are a native of an ineligible country, but neither of your parents is a native of that country or lived there at the time of your birth, you may claim nativity in one of your parents’ countries of birth if that country is eligible.

(2) Entrants must either be a high school graduate or have successfully completed a 12-year course of study including elementary and secondary education, OR have two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training. GED certificates and correspondence courses will NOT satisfy this requirement. To find out if your job experience qualifies, visit the O*Net Online Database (http://online.onetcenter.org/), click on “Find Occupations,” and then choose a selection in the “Job Family” drop-down box and click on “GO.” The database will display a list of occupations. Click on an occupation title, and then click on the words “Job Zone” at the top of the page. Under the section titled “Job Zone,” look for a job zone number of 4 or 5, and an SVP range of 7.0 or higher.

What countries are eligible?

All countries EXCEPT: Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, South Korea, the United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan ARE eligible, as well as countries not included in the list above.

You may submit only one entry, and you may complete the process yourself or have someone submit the entry for you. Although no one can guarantee that your entry will be chosen, you can ensure that your forms are completed correctly. Contact The Law Office of Tanya M. Lee, PLLC at 480-559-9529  ; tlee@aboutusvisas.com for assistance.