Press Statement by James P. Rubin, Spokesman
Section 203(c) of the Immigration Act of 1990 makes available 55,000* permanent resident immigrant visas each year by random selection through a Diversity Visa lottery (DV-2001). The DV-2001 registration mail-in period will be held from noon on Monday, October 4, 1999 through noon on Wednesday, November 3, 1999. The basic requirements for participants and the countries that are eligible remain unchanged from DV-2000.
How are the visas being apportioned?
The visas will be apportioned among six geographic regions. A greater number of visas will go to those regions that have lower immigration rates and no visas may be issued to countries that have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States during the previous five years. No one country can receive more than seven percent of the available diversity visas in any one year.
Information about visa allotments for each region is determined by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) each year according to a formula specified in Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
The six geographic regions are:
--AFRICA: All countries on the continent of Africa and adjacent islands are eligible.
--ASIA: All countries are eligible except China, both mainland and Taiwan born, India, Philippines, South Korea, and Vietnam. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR are eligible.
--EUROPE: All countries are eligible except Great Britain (United Kingdom) and its dependent territories, and Poland; (Northern Ireland is eligible).
*The Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NCARA) passed by Congress in November 1997 stipulates that up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NCARA program.
--NORTH AMERICA: The Bahamas is the only eligible country in the region this year; (Canada is not eligible for this year's lottery).
--OCEANIA: All countries in the region are eligible, including Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the countries and islands in the South Pacific.
--SOUTH AMERICA, CENTRAL AMERICA, AND THE CARIBBEAN: All countries in the region are eligible except Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Jamaica, and Mexico.
Who is not eligible?
Persons born in "high admission" countries are, in most instances, not eligible for the program. "High admission" countries are defined as those from which the United States has received more than 50,000 immigrants during the last five years in the immediate relative, family and employment preference categories. Each year, the INS adds the family and employment immigrant admission figures for the previous five years, to identify the countries that must be excluded from the annual Diversity Lottery. Since there is a separate determination made prior to each lottery entry period, the list of countries that do not qualify is subject to change each year.
For 2001, the "high admission" countries are: China (mainland and Taiwan), India, the Philippines, Vietnam, South Korea, Poland, United Kingdom and dependent territories, Canada, Mexico, Haiti, Jamaica, El Salvador, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR and Northern Ireland are eligible to apply for the DV-2001 lottery. Macau's eligibility for participation in the DV lottery will be determined by legislation that has not yet been passed into law.
What are the requirements to enter? Have the requirements changed since last year's DV-2000 registration?
An entrant must be a native of a qualifying country. In addition, an entrant must have either a high school education or its equivalent, or within the past five years have two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience. The requirements for the DV-2001 registration are the same as for last year's DV-2000 lottery.
There is no initial application fee or special application form to enter. The entry must be typed or clearly printed in the English alphabet on a sheet of plain paper and must include the applicant's full name; date and place of birth for both the applicant, the spouse, and any minor, unmarried children under age 21 (all minor children must be listed on the principal applicant's entry, regardless of whether they wish to immigrate); the applicant's mailing address and, if possible, a telephone number; the applicant's native country if it differs from the country of birth; a recent (preferably less than 6 months old) photograph (1 1/2 inches by 1 1/2 inches) of the principal applicant with the applicant's name printed across the back of the photograph. (The photograph should be taped to the application with clear tape, not attached by staples or paper clips which can jam the mail processing equipment.) The applicant must also sign the entry using his or her normal signature, regardless of whether the entry is prepared and submitted by the applicant or someone else. (Only the principal applicant, not the spouse and children, needs to submit a signature and photograph.) This information must be sent by regular mail or airmail to one of six postal addresses in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Applicants must use the correct postal zip code designated for their native region (see addresses below). The entry must be mailed in a standard letter or business-size envelope with the applicant's native country, full name, and complete mailing address typed or clearly printed in the English alphabet in the upper left-hand corner of the envelope. Postcards are not acceptable.
Only one entry for each applicant may be submitted during the registration period. Any entry sent by express or priority mail, fax, hand, messenger, or any means requiring receipts or special handling will not be processed. Duplicate or multiple entries will disqualify an individual from registration for this program. An entry received before or after the specified registration dates regardless of when it is postmarked and an entry sent to an address other than one of those indicated below is void. All mail received during the registration period will be individually numbered and successful entrants will be selected at random by computer regardless of time of receipt during the specified mail-in period.
Where should entries be sent?
The mailing address for all entries is the same, except for the Zip Code. That address is:
The Zip Codes are as follows: Asia: 00210; South America/Central America/Caribbean: 00211; Europe: 00212; Africa: 00213; Oceania: 00214; and North America: 00215.
Why are you holding the registration for the DV lottery in October?
The National Visa Center typically receives between 6 to 8 million qualified entries during the registration mail-in period. The massive amount of entries creates an enormous amount of work in processing and selecting successful registrants. Holding the registration period in the fall ensures successful registrants are notified in a timely manner. This also gives both them and our embassies and consulates overseas a full fiscal year (fiscal year 2001 begins on October 1, 2000 and ends on September 30, 2001) to process the necessary immigrant visas.
Is it necessary to use an outside attorney or consultant?
The decision to hire an attorney or consultant is entirely up to the applicant. Procedures for entering the Diversity Lottery can be completed without assistance following simple instructions. However, if applicants prefer to use outside assistance, that is their choice. There are many legitimate attorneys and immigration consultants assisting applicants for reasonable fees, or in some cases for free. Unfortunately, there are other persons who are charging exorbitant rates and making unrealistic claims. The selection of winners is made at random and no outside service can improve an applicant's chances of being chosen or guarantee an entry will win. Any service that claims it can improve an applicant's odds would be promising something it cannot deliver.
Persons who think they have been cheated by a U.S. company or consultant in connection with the DV Lottery may wish to contact their local consumer affairs office or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC can be contacted by telephone, toll free at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357) or (202) 382-4357 or TDD: (202) 326-2502. The mailing address is: Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. The Internet address for using the online complaint form is: http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.htm. (The FTC telephone number is only to report fraud and not to obtain information about application procedures for the DV Lottery.)
How will winners be notified?
Only successful registrants will be notified by mail at the address listed on their entry. The notifications will be sent between April and July 2000, along with instructions on how to apply for an immigrant visa, including a requirement for a special DV case $75 processing fee payable by only those individuals whose applications are selected and processed for DV-2001 visas. Applicants must meet all eligibility requirements under U.S. law to be issued a visa.
Being selected in the DV Lottery does not automatically guarantee being issued a visa because the number of applicants selected is greater than the number of immigrant visas available. Those selected will therefore need to act quickly on their immigrant visa applications. Once all available visas have been issued, the DV Program for fiscal year 2001 will end. In any event, all DV-2001 visas must, by law, be issued by September 30, 2001.
Where can one receive instructions to enter the lottery?
Interested persons may call (202) 331-7199, which describes the various means to obtain further details on entering the DV-2001 program. Applicants overseas may contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for instructions on the DV lottery. DV information is also available in the "Visa Bulletin" on the Internet or via the Consular Affairs automated fax at (202) 647-3000 (code 1103). Calls to the automated fax service must be made from a fax machine using the receiver or voice option of the caller's fax equipment.
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