The congressionally mandated Diversity Visa Lottery Program (DV Program) is administered on an annual basis by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and conducted under the terms of Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Section 131 of the Immigration Act of 1990 amended INA 203 to provide for a new class of immigrants known as "diversity immigrants" (DV immigrants), making available 50,000 permanent resident visas annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Applicants for Diversity Visas are chosen by a computer-generated random lottery drawing. Entries for the DV-2010 lottery must be submitted electronically between noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Thursday, October 2, 2008, and noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-5), Monday, December 1, 2008. No entries will be accepted after noon, EST, on December 1, 2008.

The DOS will only accept completed Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Forms submitted at www.dvlottery.state.gov during the registration period. Paper entries will not be accepted. Applicants should also be sure to follow instructions regarding the technical specifications for the submission of a digital photo.

In order to qualify for a DV-2010 Diversity Visa, the applicant must (1) be a native of a qualifying country and (2) meet either the education or training requirement of the DV Program, as described below. 

With regard to qualifying countries, a complete list of such countries is available here. Note that for DV-2010, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply: Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Peru, Poland, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible. For DV-2010, Russia has returned – and Kosovo has been added – to the list of eligible countries. No countries have been removed from the list of eligible countries for DV-2010.

In order to satisfy the education requirement, a DV applicant must have a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education. Alternatively, in order to satisfy the training requirement, a DV applicant must have two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform.

For the first time, those who submit DV entries may check the status of their entries online and determine whether their entries are selected or not selected. Successful entrants will continue to receive notification letters by mail.

For detailed information about entry requirements, along with frequently asked questions about the DV lottery, please see the instructions for the DV-2010 Diversity Visa lottery on the DOS Consular Affairs Web site. Further instructions also are available here.