The online registration period for the 2013 diversity visa program (DV-2013) started on Tuesday, October 4, 2011, at noon (EDT) and ends on Saturday, November 5, 2011, at noon (EDT). Entries must be submitted electronically with photographs. There are no fees to enter. The Department of State strongly encourages applicants not to wait until the last week to enter because heavy demand may result in website delays and no applications will be accepted on paper or after the deadline. For fiscal year 2013, the program will make available 50,000 visas to eligible persons from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the U.S.
For DV-2013, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, 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-2013, natives of South Sudan and Poland are now eligible.
To be eligible for the DV program, a person must be a native of one of the listed countries and must meet either the education or work experience requirement of the program. Entrants must have either a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education, 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.
The Department of Labor's "O*Net OnLine" database, which will be used to determine qualifying work experience, is available here.
The submission site is here. A successfully registered entry will result in a confirmation screen showing the entrant's name and a unique confirmation number. The entrant must print this confirmation screen and retain the confirmation number. Starting May 1, 2012, entrants will be able to check the status of their DV-2013 entries by returning here, Entrant Status Check, and entering the unique confirmation number and personal information. Entrant Status Check will be the sole means of informing entrants of their selection for DV-2013, providing instructions on how to proceed with an application if selected, and notifying entrants of their appointment for an immigrant visa interview. The Department of State warned that it will be unable to provide an entry confirmation number if it is lost.
The Department of State released "official" instructions in English and "unofficial" instructions in Albanian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, and Uzbek. The English instructions are available here.
For more information, see here.