Foreign nationals interested in participating in the 2010 Diversity Visa lottery will be able to access online entry starting at noon (EDT) on October 2, 2008. The system will remain open for application submission until noon (EST) on December 1, 2008. The relevant information and instructions for the application process for the lottery appear on the Department of State website. The lottery will result in the random selection of more than 50,000 people from eligible countries who will be given the opportunity to apply for a “green card” or permanent residence in the United States. Diversity Visas are allocated monthly in the government fiscal year running from October 1 through September 30 of the relevant year, and can be tracked by consulting the Department of State Visa Bulletin.

The Diversity Visa lottery provides immigration opportunities to individuals from countries that historically have posted a lower representation among the immigrating population relative to other regions in the world. While most countries consistently remain on the “eligible” list, several are periodically removed based on the representation criterion. The Diversity Visa lottery for 2009 listed natives of the following countries as ineligible for the lottery: Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependant territories, and Vietnam. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible. The Department of State noted that for 2010, Russia is being added back to the list of eligible countries and Kosovo is being added as an eligible country. No additional changes to the list of eligible countries have been announced to date.