Published:  October 15, 2011

As in years past, millions of people from all over world will submit entries to have a chance at one of 50,000 diversity immigrant visas and obtain “green card” status in the US.  Excluded from eligibility are natives of Bangladesh (new), Brazil, Canada, China (mainland born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, 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 2013 visa lottery began at noon (EDT) on October 4, 2011 and continues through noon (EDT) November 5, 2011. 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 2013 fiscal year which runs from October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013. There is no fee to enter the visa lottery, and entrants will learn of the success or failure of their effort starting May 1, 2012.

Some features: (FYI, anything and everything you need to know about the visa lottery and entry instructions can be found at Accordingly, beware of websites or companies charging exorbitant fees to “consult or offer special “inside” assistance with the process!)

All entries are electronic and like in years past, among other requirements, applicants must submit photos conforming to detailed specifications.

All winners will be chosen randomly by computer and entrants will be able to find out the status of their entry by visiting a specific page on the Department of State website starting May 1, 2012. No email notification will be sent either. Like in years past, applicants are reminded to be on the look-out for scam artists using email and the Internet to take advantage of unsuspecting applicants.

Other noteworthy features of the DV 2013 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 (details on what types of positions qualify are included on the visa lottery website noted above).

• 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.

For every detail featured in this column, there are at least 10 that I did not discuss. The application is not rocket science, and again, 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, complete details on the 2013 DV visa lottery program can be accessed at

PUBLISHED October 15, 2011 – “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2011, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois