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Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Now Open For Fiscal Year 2012

Immigration Law Update Maria F. Kallmeyer, Grant Sovern, Lisa D. Duran

Each year the U.S. Congress makes available 55,000 immigrant visas (aka, "green cards") to applicants from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Program. The U.S. Department of State conducts the lottery and randomly selects approximately 100,600 applicants from a pool of millions of qualified entrants. From this selected applicant pool, a maximum of 50,000 diversity visas are then issued during the following fiscal year. Once all the visas are issued or the fiscal year ends, the program is closed. Recipients of diversity visas are authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. Additionally, they are allowed to sponsor a spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 for lawful permanent residence in the United States along with them.

The State Department will be accepting applications for the next diversity lottery from Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at
12 p.m. EDT until Wednesday, November 3, 2010 at 12 p.m. EST
. Individuals may submit only one application, which must be filed electronically at www.dvlottery.state.gov during this period. Paper entries will not be accepted. Applicants are strongly encouraged not to wait until the last week of the registration period to enter. Heavy demand may result in website delays. No entries will be accepted after 12 p.m. EST on November 3, 2010.

All applications must be accompanied by a passport-style digital photograph of the applicant, the accompanying spouse and each unmarried child under the age of 21 (who is not a U.S. citizen). In order to qualify, an applicant must have EITHER a high school education or its equivalent 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. Each spouse in a family may submit a separate application that will cover both spouses and any dependent children.

The results of the lottery will be announced on a rolling basis in the late spring and early summer of 2011. Last year the State Department received approximately 12.1 million qualified entries, out which only 100,600 applicants were selected. Being selected in the diversity lottery does not guarantee permanent residency status. Instead, selected applicants are merely eligible to apply for permanent residency if their assigned rank number becomes current. Even then, the selected applicant must complete an extensive application process and satisfy national security and criminal background checks. Because the number of individuals selected in the lottery far exceeds the number of actual permanent visas available,
it is critical that selected applicants be prepared to act quickly upon receiving the government notification in the mail. Applications that are not submitted and approved before the 50,000 limit is reached and before the end of the 2012 fiscal year will be denied.

Individuals in F-1, J-1 or other strict nonimmigrant status who are selected in the lottery are advised to consult an immigration attorney before submitting a permanent residency application in order to assess any potential consequences to their nonimmigrant status.

The Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery Program was created to encourage people from countries with low immigration rates to immigrate to the U.S. Therefore, foreign nationals from countries with high levels of immigration to the United States are ineligible for the program. For the DV-2012 program, citizens from the following countries are not eligible to apply:

Brazil El Salvador Pakistan
Canada Guatemala Philippines
People's Republic of China* Haiti Peru
Colombia India Poland
Dominican Republic Jamaica South Korea
Ecuador Mexico U.K. and its dependent territories
(except Northern Ireland)
Vietnam

* Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.

Please see the U.S. Department of State's instructions for DV-2012, available on their website. For additional information, please call your local Quarles & Brady attorney or contact immigration attorneys Maria Kallmeyer at (312) 715-5009 / maria.kallmeyer@quarles.com, Grant Sovern at (608) 283-2668 / grant.sovern@quarles.com or Lisa Duran at (602) 229-5225 / lisa.duran@quarles.com.

Please Note: There have been instances of fraudulent websites posing as official U.S. Government sites. Some companies posing as the U.S. Government have sought money in order to "complete" lottery entry forms. There is no charge to download and complete the electronic diversity visa entry form. The Department of State notifies successful diversity visa applicants by letter and not by email.
The following is a statistical breakdown, by region and country, of the successful applicants for the DV-2011 diversity lottery program (Note: These applicants applied in the fall of 2009 and were selected for further processing in the late spring/early summer of 2010). These statistics are provided simply as a view of the last diversity visa lottery. Because
it is a random drawing, the numbers can vary substantially from year to year.
 

AFRICA
Algeria - 1,753
Angola - 55
Benin - 508
Botswana - 13
Burkina Faso - 183
Burundi - 72
Cameroon - 3,674
Cape Verde - 26
Central African Rep. - 18
Chad - 59
Comoros - 7
Congo - 144
Congo, The Democratic
Republic of - 2,575
Côte d'Ivoire - 759
Djibouti - 45
Egypt - 4,251
Equatorial Guinea - 13
Eritrea - 851
Ethiopia - 5,200
Gabon - 41
Gambia, The - 72
Ghana - 6,002
Guinea - 701
Guinea-Bissau - 5
Kenya - 4,689
Lesotho - 11
Liberia - 1,826
Libya - 114
Madagascar - 55
Malawi - 33
Mali - 88
Mauritania - 25
Mauritius - 61
Morocco - 2,003
Mozambique - 2
Namibia - 13
Niger - 89
Nigeria - 6,000
Rwanda - 204
Senegal - 427
Seychelles - 4
Sierra Leone - 3,911
Somalia - 201
South Africa - 963
Sudan - 1,156
Swaziland - 4
Tanzania - 174
Togo - 1,011
Tunisia - 132
Uganda - 490
Zambia - 128
Zimbabwe - 163

ASIA
Afghanistan - 97
Bahrain - 15
Bangladesh - 5,999
Bhutan - 5
Burma - 367
Cambodia - 434
Hong Kong
Special Admin. Region - 43
Indonesia - 205
Iran - 2,819
Iraq - 147
Israel - 129
Japan - 298
Jordan - 136
North Korea - 2
Kuwait - 88
Laos - 3
Lebanon - 214
Malaysia - 133
Maldives - 4
Mongolia - 279
Nepal - 2,189
Oman - 3
Qatar - 9
Saudi Arabia - 91
Singapore - 35
Sri Lanka - 515
Syria - 132
Taiwan - 365
Thailand - 77
United Arab Emirates - 66
Yemen - 95

EUROPE
Albania - 1,469
Armenia - 1,268
Aruba - 6
Austria - 147
Azerbaijan - 355
Belarus - 1,104
Belgium - 94
Bosnia & Herzegovina - 67
Bulgaria - 950
Croatia - 97
Cyprus - 11
Czech Republic - 111
Denmark - 66
Estonia - 72
Finland - 87
France - 767
French Polynesia - 13
French Southern & Antarctic Lands - 1
New Caledonia - 9
Georgia - 699
Germany - 1,895
Greece - 62
Greenland - 1
Hungary - 272
Iceland - 48
Ireland - 201
Italy - 450
Kazakhstan - 370
Kosovo - 134
Kyrgyzstan - 196
Latvia - 122
Liechtenstein - 1
Lithuania - 262
Luxembourg - 3
Macedonia - 263
Malta - 1
Moldova - 894
Montenegro - 5
Netherlands - 139
Netherlands Antilles - 16
Northern Ireland - 38
Norway - 66
Portugal - 61
Macau Special Admin. Region - 5
Romania - 821
Russia - 2,464
Serbia - 327
Slovakia - 125
Slovenia - 14
Spain - 219
Sweden - 187
Switzerland - 195
Tajikistan - 257
Turkey - 2,266
Turkmenistan - 135
Ukraine - 6,000
Uzbekistan - 5,091

NORTH AMERICA
Bahamas, The - 18    

OCEANIA
Australia - 683
Fiji - 476
Kiribati - 9
Marshall Islands - 6
Nauru - 7
New Zealand - 333
Niue - 8
Palau - 2
Papua New Guinea - 4
Solomon Islands - 3
Tonga - 51
Tuvalu - 4
Vanuatu - 1
Western Samoa - 13

SOUTH AMERICA, CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN
Antigua and Barbuda - 1
Argentina - 134
Barbados - 12
Belize - 12
Bolivia - 90
Chile - 63
Costa Rica - 50
Cuba - 406
Dominica - 29
Grenada - 5
Guyana - 36
Honduras - 61
Nicaragua - 74
Panama - 31
Paraguay - 14
Saint Kitts & Nevis - 6
Saint Lucia - 27
Saint Vincent and
The Grenadines - 21
Suriname - 9
Trinidad and Tobago - 145
Uruguay - 23
Venezuela - 752