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2019 Diversity Visa Lottery (Green Card Lottery) Special Announcement

Immigration Law Alert Emily C. Shircel, Grant Sovern, Jose A. Carrillo

Due to a technical issue, all entries submitted between October 3, 2017 and October 10, 2017 are not valid and have been excluded from the system. All entries submitted during this period will need to be resubmitted for the entrant to be considered; subsequent entries will not count as a duplicate entry. The technical issue has been resolved and a new full entry period began at 12:00pm U.S. EDT on Wednesday, October 18, 2017 and will run until 12:00pm EST on Wednesday, November 22, 2017. Only entries submitted during this revised period will be accepted and considered for selection in the 2019 Diversity Lottery. Any entries made prior to 12:00pm EDT on October 18, 2017 will need to be resubmitted for the applicant to be considered.

The Diversity Lottery:

Each year the U.S. Congress makes available approximately 50,000 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 100,000 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.

Individuals may submit only one application, which must be filed electronically here during the period outlined above. Paper entries will not be accepted. Applicants who do not follow the State Department's official instructions will be disqualified from the lottery. 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 12:00pm EST on November 22, 2017. 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 2018. Being selected in the Diversity Lottery does not guarantee permanent resident 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 will be denied if they are not submitted and approved before the 50,000 limit is reached and before the end of the 2019 fiscal year.

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-2019 program, nationals from the following countries are not eligible to apply:

Bangladesh; Brazil; Canada; China (mainland-born); Colombia; Dominican Republic; El Salvador; Haiti; India; Jamaica; Mexico; Nigeria; Pakistan; Peru; Philippines; South Korea; United Kingdom and its dependent territories (except Northern Ireland); and Vietnam.

For additional information, please call your local Quarles & Brady attorney or contact immigration attorneys Maria Kallmeyer at 312-715-5009/[email protected], Grant Sovern at 608-283-2668/[email protected], Jose Carrillo at 602-229-5351/[email protected], Emily Shircel at 414-277-5217/[email protected], Eric Ledbetter at 312-715-5018/[email protected], or Peter Asaad at 202 372-9522/[email protected].