The deadline for electronic submissions is fast approaching for the U.S. Department of State’s 2013 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV-2013), also known as the Green Card Lottery. The Diversity Lottery Program provides a path for foreign nationals to become permanent residents of the United States regardless of whether they have a family member or an employer willing to sponsor them. The State Department opened online registration October 4, 2011. Individuals who meet the eligibility requirements and submit an application during the appointed time will be entered into a lottery from which 55‚000 green card entries will be selected. Please note that the 2012 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program had 14.8 million entrants for 55‚000 permanent resident visas. Applications must be submitted electronically by 12:00 noon EST on Saturday‚ November 5‚ 2011. The electronic form must be submitted online at https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/. There is no fee. Entries may not be submitted through the U.S. Postal Service. Please note that selection in the lottery does not guarantee the applicant a green card; applicants must still meet all standards for admissibility and be able to process their green cards within the allotted time. Immediate family members of successful lottery applicants are eligible for green cards as well, provided they meet the same admissibility standards.

Lottery visas are apportioned to foreign nationals hailing from the following six geographic regions: Africa; Asia; Europe; North America; Oceania; and South America‚ Central America, and the Caribbean. To qualify‚ a foreign national must claim nativity or country of birth in an eligible country and meet certain education or work experience requirements. The purpose of the program is to diversify and encourage immigration from countries that send lower numbers of immigrants to the United States. Not all countries in the six eligible regions fall within the Green Card Lottery program. Because each of the following countries has sent more than 50‚000 immigrants to the United States in the past five years, natives of these countries are NOT eligible for the lottery: Bangladesh, Brazil‚ Canada‚ China (mainland-born)‚ Colombia‚ Dominican Republic‚ Ecuador‚ El Salvador‚ Guatemala‚ Haiti‚ India‚ Jamaica‚ Mexico‚ Pakistan‚ Peru, Philippines‚ 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 and for DV-2013, natives of South Sudan and Poland became eligible, while Bangladeshi natives are now ineligible. To fulfill the education/work experience provisions‚ an applicant must have either a high school education or its equivalent‚ or two years of work experience in the last five years in a job that requires at least two years of training or experience. More specific qualifications and registration instructions for DV-2013 can be found at http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_1318.html.