2011 U.S. Diversity Visa Lottery: Open until November 30

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Each year, the U.S. government makes 50,000 permanent residence visas (“green cards”) available through the Diversity Immigrant Visa program. Visa applicants are selected through a computer-generated, random lottery. The selection of a person’s name in the lottery gives that person the opportunity to take the next steps in the visa application process.

Registration for the 2011 Diversity Visa Lottery (DV-2011) is open from October 2 to November 30, 2009, the U.S. State Department has announced.

Applicants must submit their entries electronically, and they are strongly urged to apply early because heavy demand on the lottery Web site may cause delays as the deadline nears.

Persons seeking to enter the visa lottery must register online through the designated Web site. Applications will be accepted only until noon Eastern Standard Time (1700 GMT) on Monday, November 30, 2009. No applications will be accepted after that, the State Department said September 29.

This version of the Diversity Visa Lottery is known as DV-2011 because the visas will be issued during fiscal year 2011 (October 1, 2010–September 30, 2011). Lottery winners will be notified by postal mail (not e-mail) between May and July 2010 and will receive instructions on how to complete the application process for a DV-2011 visa.

This lottery is only for DV-2011 visas. Winners of the DV-2010 lottery were selected from more than 13.6 million qualified entries and were notified by mail between May and July 2009.

The lottery is open only to persons from eligible countries who meet certain education or work experience requirements: either a high school education or its equivalent, or two years of qualifying work experience. The requirements are outlined in the DV-2011 instructions. Potential applicants who cannot meet the requirements “should NOT submit an entry to the DV program,” the instructions say.

Diversity visas are available only to people from eligible countries with low immigration rates to the United States. Natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply for the DV-2011 lottery because those nations sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the previous five years: Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

People born in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible to apply.

Last year for the first time, applicants were able to check the status of their entries online — on the State Department’s Diversity Visa Entrant Status Check Web site — and learn whether their entries were selected or not selected. By going to the same Web site after July 1, 2010, applicants for the DV-2011 lottery will be able to check the status of their entries.

There is no fee for entering the lottery or downloading and completing the application form. The State Department warns applicants to be wary of fraudulent schemes asking for money, fraudulent e-mails, and Web sites posing as official U.S. government sites.

Each person may enter the lottery only once. Spouses may each submit an application.

The English-language version of the DV-2011 Lottery instructions is the only official version. Instructions will be available in other languages (on the instructions page) as translations become available.

Both a press release and general information on the DV-2011 Diversity Visa Lottery are available on the State Department Web site. Detailed instructions are also available.

Numerical results, by country, for the DV-2009 visa lottery and the DV-2010 visa lottery are available on the State Department Web site.

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