The New Visa Lottery (DV-2005)
August 29, 2003

Like in years past, those from Canada, China (mainland born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia (new to the list), South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and Vietnam do NOT get to participate in this year’s visa lottery where millions from all over world submit entries to have a chance at one of 50,000 diversity immigrant visas and obtain “green card” status in the U.S. That is because these are considered to be “high admission” nations, and the basis of Congress establishing the visa lottery statute was to provide immigration opportunities for individuals for other, non-high admission countries. A determination of which countries are “high admission” is made year to year.

The entry period for this year’s visa lottery begins Saturday, November 1, 2003 and continues through Tuesday, December 30, 2003. Individuals who are picked will ultimately be eligible to enter the U.S. (or adjust their status, if they are already in the U.S. and are otherwise eligible) during the 2005 fiscal year which runs from October 1, 2004 through September 30, 2005.

Some new features:

  • The Big Change: All entries are electronic. Paper entries will no longer be accepted. To enter the new visa lottery, applicants must register at during the 60 day registration period, and all application must include photos conforming to detailed specifications and in the JPEG format.
  • All winners will be chosen randomly by computer and notifications will be forwarded by way of conventional mail between May and July, 2004.
  • The requirement that all applications be signed has been eliminated.

Like in years past:

  • There is no initial application fee
  • Applicants must have either a high school education or its equivalent, OR two years of experience working in a “skilled” position.
  • There is a limitation on one application per individual. Qualifying individuals in the same household may submit individual applications.
  • Those picked as winners are eligible to have their spouse and under 21 year old children join in on receiving the same green card benefits. Siblings and parents of winners do not stand to derive immigration benefits.

For every detail featured in this column, there are at least 10 that I did not discuss. The application is not rocket science, and individuals should not be tricked into thinking they need to pay an exorbitant fee to have their application processed. Nor should anyone be tricked into thinking that payment of a fee to a “professional” increases their chances of being picked.

Further details on the DV visa lottery program can be accessed at

Copyright © 2003-2008, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois