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.
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. Diversity 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 2012 Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery began at noon EST on October 5, 2010. 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 5, 2010 through noon EST November 3, 2010).
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 2012 Diversity Visa Lottery to submit their information early in the two-month registration period. Heavy demand may result in website delays. No entries will be accepted after noon EST on November 3, 2010.
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 Web sites and e-mail have masqueraded as Official Diversity Visa Lottery facilitators. Registration from the Diver-sity Visa Lottery through the official US government Web site, www.dvlottery.state.gov is free of charge and notification of winning entries is sent by mail only. Paper entries and mail-in requests for Diversity Visa Lottery registration are not accepted.
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, Do-minican 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.
No countries have been added or removed from the list of eligible countries. The list of eligible countries remains the same as for DV-2011.
Requirements for entry
l To enter the DV lottery, you must be a native of one of the listed countries.
Native of a country whose natives qualify: In most cases, this means the country in which you were born. However, there are two other ways you may be able to qualify. First, if you were born in a country whose natives are ineligible but your spouse was born in a country whose natives are eligible, you can claim your spouse’s country of birth-provided that both you and your spouse are on the selected entry, are issued visas, and enter the United States simultaneously. Second, if you were born in a country whose natives are ineligible, but neither of your parents was born there or resided there at the time of your birth, you may claim nativity in one of your parents’ countries of birth if it is a country whose natives qualify for the DV-2012 program.
To enter the lottery, you must meet either the education or work experience requirement of the DV program: You must have either a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education; or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform.
If you cannot meet either of these requirements, you should NOT submit an entry to the DV program.
Procedures for submitting an entry to DV-2012
l The Department of State will only accept completed E-DV entry forms submitted electronically at www.dvlottery .state.gov during the registration period between noon, EDT (GMT-4), Tuesday, October 5, 2010 and noon, EDT (GMT-4), Wednesday, November 3, 2010.
l All entries by an individual will be disqualified if more than ONE entry for that individual is received, regardless of who submitted the entry. You may prepare and submit your own entry or have someone submit the entry for you.
l A successfully registered entry will result in a confirmation screen containing your name and a unique confirmation number. You should print this confirmation screen for your records using the print function of your Web browser and ensure that you retain your confirmation number. Starting May 1, 2011, you will be able to check the status of your DV-2012 entry by returning to www.dvlottery.state.gov Entry Status Check and entering your unique confirmation number and personal information.
l Paper entries will not be accepted.
l It is very important that all required photographs be submitted. Your entry will be disqualified if all required photographs are not submitted. Recent photographs of the following people must be submitted electronically with the E-DV entry form:
l Your spouse
l Each unmarried child under 21 years of age at the time of your electronic entry, including all natural children as well as all legally adopted children and stepchildren, even if a child no longer resides with you or you do not intend for a child to immigrate under the DV program.
Failure to submit the required photographs for your spouse and each child listed will result in an incomplete entry to the E-DV system. The entry will not be accepted and must be resubmitted.
l A spouse or child, who is already a US citizen or a Lawful Permanent Resident, will not require or be issued a DV visa. However, you should include all family members in your registration and photos of each person who will receive a DV visa. Group or family photographs will not be accepted; there must be a separate photograph for each family member.
l Entries are subject to disqualification and visa refusal for cases in which the photographs are not recent or have been manipulated or fail to meet the specifications ex-plained below.
For further information about entry requirements, please contact our office at (201) 845-0989 or e-mail to us at