By Michael Phulwani
Immigration & Nationality Act makes available up to 55,000 permanent resident immigrant visas each year by random selection through a Diversity Visa lottery (DV). The annual DV program makes permanent residence visas available to persons meeting the simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. Di-versity Visa entries are chosen by a computer-generated random lottery drawing. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration, and no visas going to citizens of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the US in the past five years. Within each region, no one country may receive more than 7 percent of the available Diversity Visas in any one year.
The Department of State has announced that registration for the 2011 Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery began at noon EST on Octpber 2, 2009. Person seeking to enter the lottery program must register online through the designated Internet Web site www.dvlottery.state.gov during the registration period (i.e. from noon EST October 2, 2009 through noon EST November 30, 2009).
The Department of State implemented the electronic registration system in 2003 year for the 2005 Diversity Visa Lottery to improve efficiency and make the process less prone to fraud, thus
making it less vulnerable to use by persons who may pose a threat to the security interests of the United States. The Department continues to encourage persons, who wish to enter the 2011 Diversity Visa Lottery to submit their information early in the two-month registration period. Heavy demand may result in Web site delays. No entries will be accepted after noon EST on November 30, 2009.
Note: There is no fee charged for entering the Diversity Visa lottery. The Department of State does not endorse, recommend or sponsor any information or material from outside entities. The department is not aware that websites and e-mail have masqueraded as Official Diversity Visa lottery facilitators. Registration from the Diversity Visa Lottery through the official US government Web site, www.dvlottery.state.gov is free of charge and notification of winning entries are sent by mail only.
For DV-2011, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because the countries sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the previous five years:
Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Domi-nican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.
Michael Phulwani is a prominent attorney admitted to practice law in New York, New Jersey and India. He practices immigration and nationality laws and visa matters in the USA and abroad. He is a frequent lecturer on immigration laws and co-hosts several TV and radio programs on immigration. In this column, Phulwani will discuss frequent problems relating to immigration legislation and answer questions from our readers. All questions should be forwarded to Michael Phulwani, 888 Maywood Avenue, Maywood, NJ 07607.