News - October 2015

Diversity Visa Lottery Program Registration Now Open

The Department of State (DOS) has announced that it will accept applications to enter the 2017 Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery, between 12:00 noon on October 1, 2015 and 12:00 noon on November 3, 2015 (Eastern Standard Time).

Instructions for applying are available at The web site also has a video with step-by-step guidance.

Under the Diversity Visa Program, DOS may issue up to 55,000 immigrant visas annually for "diversity immigrants" from countries with historically low numbers of immigrants. In order to apply for the visas, applicants first must enter a lottery run by DOS, and then be selected as lottery winners. DOS selects winners randomly. Winning the lottery is an essential step toward obtaining the visa, but applicants still must apply for, and be granted, the visa.

Individuals born in the following countries are ineligible to apply for the lottery this year: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. The two exceptions to the birth country limitation are:

  1. The applicant was married before applying for the lottery, his or her spouse was not born in one of the ineligible countries, the spouse is named on the lottery application, and both the applicant and spouse obtain visas and apply for admission to the U.S. at the same time; or
  2. Neither of the applicant's parents was born in one of the ineligible countries, or was a legal resident of one of the ineligible countries at the time of the applicant's birth.

Note: the Diversity Visa Program requires applicants to have a high school education or its equivalent, or two years of qualifying work experience within the past five years, as defined by U.S. law.

Applicants for the lottery should not wait until the last week of the registration period to enter because there may be website delays and technical difficulties due to the large volume of applications.


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