Most Read Contributor in United States, August 2016
The State Department announced that it will begin accepting
applications for the FY 2018 Diversity Immigrant Visa
Program—commonly called the diversity visa
lottery—beginning Tuesday, October 4, 2016. Applicants who
are selected and approved may apply for a green card starting on
October 1, 2018.
Each year, the State Department randomly selects 50,000
immigrant visa applications from a pool of foreign national
applicants who were born in certain countries with historically low
rates of immigration to the United States. The State Department
will accept diversity visa applications for FY 2018 beginning on
Tuesday, October 4, until Monday, November 7.
Applicants who are selected in the lottery must meet certain
requirements before becoming eligible to apply for lawful permanent
residency (i.e., apply for a "green card").
First, applicants must be born in countries that have
historically low immigration rates. Individuals born in the
following countries are ineligible to apply for a DV for
fiscal year 2018:
Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China
(mainland-born**), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador,
Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru,
Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland)
and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. **Note: Persons born in
Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.
Most notably, nationals of Ecuador are eligible to apply in this
year's diversity visa lottery program, a change from being
ineligible in years past. Those not born in an eligible country may
still be able to apply for a DV through a spouse (if that spouse
was born in an eligible country) or, in certain circumstances,
through a parent.
Secondly, each DV applicant must have at least a high school
education or its equivalent or, alternatively, have two years of
work experience in a position that requires at least two years of
education, training, or experience to perform.
The State Department encourages applicants to avoid
procrastination in applying, as heavy demand in their application
system may cause delays or other technical errors. Applicants will
be able to check if they were selected in the randomized lottery
starting May 2, 2017.
Employers are often interested in having a qualifying employee
apply for a diversity visa in order to avoid costly traditional
employment-based "green card" applications (such as first
conducting mandatory advertisements in connection with a PERM
filing with the Department of Labor). Both employers who encourage
its foreign employees to apply, as well as any other prospective
individual applicants, should be mindful of complex requirements in
order to avoid rejection, denial, or other avoidable issues
throughout the diversity visa application process.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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