The US Immigration Act of 1990 created the diversity visa immigration category (commonly called the DV lottery) to benefit persons from countries that have in the last 5 years sent the fewest numbers of immigrants to the US. You can enter the DV lottery if you are a native of one of those countries and meet certain educational and other requirements.
How many people are selected for the program annually?
The total number of DV winners selected annually is 55,000 though in reality only 50,000 places are up for grabs. The other 5000 places are reserved for applicants under a different program called NACARA. Using available statistics for total admissions for other immigrant categories over the most recent five-year period, the Secretary of Homeland Security identifies high admission foreign states. A foreign state whose immigrant admissions total is greater than 50,000 is a high admission foreign state. You are therefore disqualified from making a DV entry if you are a native of a high admission foreign state unless you can claim under the rules of chargeability on the basis of your spouse or parent.
How to file a petition for a DV lottery
You may file a petition or another person may file same on your behalf with the Department of State (DOS) for consideration. The petition consists of an electronic entry form you or the person acting on your behalf must complete on-line and submit to the DOS. The DOS normally designates a period of not more than 30 days in each fiscal year within which qualified persons may file entries for consideration. The rules for registering in the lottery drawing changes every year; you may therefore check the DOS website at http://travel.state.gov (click “Visas” then “Diversity Visa”) for latest update.
Details on the DV Entry Form
You must complete all details on the form or your entry will be disqualified. You must state your full name; date of birth; gender; city and country where you were born; and country of eligibility or chargeability for the DV program. Other details include phone number and mailing address; email address; country where you live today; highest level of education; marital status; number of children under 21 years; and spouse information.
You must provide true and accurate details on the entry as the submission of untrue or inaccurate details may result in either the disqualification of your entry or the refusal of your visa at the time of your visa interview. The Foreign Affairs Manual provides that entries lacking all of the required information may be disqualified at any time prior to selection, after selection, or during the visa application process.
For names, ensure that you enter the name in the order which they appear in your passport, or if you have no passport at the time of entry, the order in which they appear on your other document such as birth and baptismal certificates, educational certificates, identity cards, etc. Be sure about the order of your surname, first name, and middle name (if any), before entering them on the form. If there is a discrepancy in the order of your names as entered in the lottery and that in your passport or other document, your DV visa may be refused.
For children, you must state the number of children you have (if any); their name, date, and place of birth of all your natural children, legally adopted children, and stepchildren who are unmarried and under age 21. It does not matter whether you are married to the child’s parent, nor whether the child lives with you or will immigrate with you; you must enter their details anyway. You need not mention children who are already US legal permanent residents or citizens.
For spouses, you must provide the name, date of birth, and their country of birth. Failure to list your spouse may result in your disqualification and refusal of your visa at the time of the interview.
You will be required to upload a digital photograph in accordance with specifications of yourself, your spouse and any child under 21 mentioned in the entry. Failure to upload photos according to specifications will lead to the disqualification of your entry.
To be continued…
By Emmanuel Opoku Acheampong
Disclaimer: This article only provides general information and guidance on U.S. immigration law. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. The writer will not accept any liability for any claims or inconvenience as a result of the use of this information. The writer is an immigration law consultant and a practicing law attorney in Ghana. He advises on U.S., UK, and Schengen immigration law. He works part-time for Acheampong & Associates Ltd, an immigration law firm in Accra. He may be contacted at [email protected]