Employers of foreign nationals should note that registration for the Fiscal Year 2015 Diversity Visa ("DV") Lottery opened yesterday, October 1, 2013, at noon (EDT) and will remain open until noon (EDT) on Saturday, November 2, 2013. The DV Program is an alternate path for foreign nationals who meet the program's eligibility requirements to obtain permanent residence in the United States. Each fiscal year, the U.S. Department of State, through a computer-generated lottery selection, makes available 50,000 immigrant visas ("green cards") to a class of immigrants known as "diversity immigrants."
Who Is Eligible to Enter the FY 2015 Lottery?
People from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States may register for the DV Lottery. The list of countries is subject to change from year to year. For this DV Lottery, employees born in one of the following countries are NOT eligible: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Columbia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.
Employees born in any country not listed above, including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, ARE eligible to register. In addition, employees who were born in one of the ineligible countries listed above may still be able to register, provided that (1) if married, the employee's spouse was born in a country whose natives are eligible; or (2) in some circumstances, if a parent was born in a country whose natives are eligible.
In addition to being eligible to enter based on country of birth, an employee must meet either the education (a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education) or work experience requirement (two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform, as set forth in the U.S. Department of Labor's O*Net Online database).
How Does an Employee Register for the Lottery?
An employee (not the employer) must submit an online Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form (E-DV entry form or Form DS-5501) and a digital photo through the Department of State's official lottery website at www.dvlottery.state.gov, during the registration period. This website has Frequently Asked Questions to guide users through the online registration process. The employee should register early and make sure his/her photo meets the required specifications as shown on the website. Lottery applicants are permitted to submit only one entry per person. All entries by an individual will be disqualified if more than one entry is submitted. Any incomplete entry will also be disqualified. Once an employee successfully registers electronically, a confirmation screen will appear on his/her computer containing his/her name and confirmation number. The employee must print this screen for his/her records and save the confirmation number.
How Does an Employee Learn if He/She Has Been Selected as a Lottery Winner?
An employee may check the status of his/her entry starting May 1, 2014, on the official DV Lottery website indicated above by clicking on Entrant Status Check and entering his/her unique confirmation number and personal information. This is the only method of notification of a winning entry selection; the Department of State will not send letters or e-mails or make calls to the selected lottery winners.
Protect Yourself From Lottery Fraud
There is no cost or charge by the Department of State for employees to register for the DV Lottery. The U.S. government does not employ any outside consultants or private services to operate the program. The only authorized website where employees can officially register to participate in the DV Program is www.dvlottery.state.gov. Accordingly, employers and employees should be very wary of any deceptive lottery websites claiming to have State Department authorization or any e-mails or letters that claim to be from the State Department. As stated above, the State Department does not send letters or e-mails, and the official lottery website is the only legitimate place to submit a registration or to learn about lottery results. Any third-party attempts to provide registrations for a fee are highly likely to be a scam or fraud; no third party can improve an applicant's chances of being selected as a DV Lottery winner.