The Department of State (DOS) has announced the results of the 2008 Diversity Immigration Visa Lottery. This lottery is a congressionally mandated program, whereby DOS must provide for 50,000 permanent resident visas per year. DOS distributes these visas based on a random selection of individuals meeting certain criteria, including coming from particular countries with historically low rates of immigration into the United States. Registration for the 2008 lottery occurred from October 4, 2006, through December 3, 2006, and gathered 6.4 million entries (an increase from the approximately 5.5 million applications received the previous year). Registration occurs electronically through DOS’ Web site.

As DOS reports, Bangladesh had the largest number of applicants with over 1.7 million for the 2008 lottery, with Nigeria and Ukraine having the next highest totals of 684,735 and 619, 584, respectively. Overall, 41 percent of the total applicants came from Africa, 38 percent from Asia, 19 percent from Europe, and 2 percent from South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.

The selection of winners will occur in or around the first half of 2007. Winners will be notified by mail from the Kentucky Consular Center between April and July. Those who do not win will not be notified. The letters will confirm the name, date of birth, and country of chargeability of the registrant, and a date/time stamp when entries were registered. They will also provide further instructions on fees and other items.

Finally, DOS notes that there have been several attempts to defraud entrants in the Diversity Immigration Visa Lottery. Winners will be notified only by the Department of State’s Kentucky Consular Center.