The Green Card Lottery (DV-2011)
Published: October 4, 2009

As in years past, millions of people from all over world will submit entries to have a chance at one of 55,000 diversity immigrant visas and obtain “green card” status in the US. Excluded from eligibility are natives of Brazil (new to the list), Canada, China (mainland born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru (new to the list), Philippines, Poland, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and Vietnam. 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 from other, non-high-admission countries. The determination of which countries are “high admission” is made year to year.

The entry period for the 2011 visa lottery began at noon (EDT) on October 2, 2009 and continues through noon (EST) November 30, 2009. Individuals who are picked will ultimately be eligible to enter the US (or adjust their status, if they are already in the US and are otherwise eligible) during the 2011 fiscal year which runs from October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011.

Some features:

  • For the 6th year in a row, all entries are electronic, with specific, detailed instructions available here. As in years past, among other requirements, applicants must submit photos conforming to detailed specifications.
  • All winners will be chosen randomly by computer and notifications will be forwarded by way of conventional mail sometime between May and July, 2010. Applicants are specifically advised that email notification should not be expected, and to be on the look-out for scam artists using email and the Internet to take advantage of unsuspecting applicants. (Applicants are also provided with instructions for reporting Internet fraud or unsolicited emails).

Other noteworthy features of the DV 2011 Green Card lottery:

  • There is no requirement that the application be signed.
  • 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.
  • Applicants can be living in the U.S. or abroad.
  • Those picked as winners are eligible to have their spouse and children under 21 years of age join in on receiving the same green card benefits. Siblings and parents of winners do not stand to derive immigration benefits.
  • Applicants may check the status of their entry by way of the official DV lottery/State Dept. website – see above.

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. As stated, further details on the 2011 DV visa lottery program can be accessed here.

Copyright © 2009, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois