The Other Immigration Lottery: Diversity Visa – Work Visas


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In the area of ​​immigration to the United States, employers and foreign workers enter the H-1B lottery each spring in the hope of obtaining the temporary work visa, which authorizes two three-year periods of employment. work permit for highly skilled workers. The visa can often act as a stepping stone to permanent residency through an employer-sponsored immigrant visa, more commonly known as a “green card.” But there is another immigration lottery – for green cards in particular – also held every spring, but with the registration period taking place from October to November, which is fast approaching.

This other lottery, known as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV Program), was created under the Immigration Act of 1990 to diversify the immigrant population in the United States. The program, administered by the US Department of State (DOS), provides 50,000 immigrant visas per year, or about five percent of total annual legal immigration. The lottery is open to people from countries with low immigration rates to the United States – a country with fewer than 50,000 nationals admitted to the United States in the last five years. Winners are randomly selected.

This pathway to permanent residency does not require the sponsorship of an employer or family member, unlike most other green card categories. The program provides the opportunity to immigrate and eventually become US citizens for those who have no connection to a relative or employer in the United States. In recent decades, the largest region sending immigrants through the program has been Africa, where nationals tend to have fewer ties to American family or American employers than natives from other regions. The second largest region sending immigrants through the program is Europe, where family ties tend to be generations in the past, so family members are too far apart to sponsor each other for the immigration.

The list of eligible countries is updated annually and due to their historically higher rates of immigration to the United States, some countries including China, India, Mexico, United Kingdom and Canada, among others, are excluded from the lottery. Eligible countries are grouped into six geographic regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania, South America and the Caribbean. Each region’s annual allocation allocation formula is updated annually based on recent immigration statistics and generally allocates fewer visas to certain regions with higher admission rates. Additionally, no country can receive more than seven percent of available DV immigrant visas in a fiscal year.

To enter the lottery, a contestant must be born in one of the eligible countries (some exceptions allow a contestant to use the country of birth of their spouse or parents). If selected in the lottery, then the applicant must apply for an immigrant visa either through DOS or United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A person residing overseas completes the processing via DOS at the United States Consulate in their home country. This includes submitting Form DS-260 with civil documents, attending an in-person interview, and completing a medical examination. If approved, the person travels to the United States and is admitted as a lawful permanent resident. If, at the time of lottery selection, the individual is temporarily residing in the United States, they may apply for an adjustment of status with USCIS, which includes submitting Form I-485 with vital documentation. , completion of a medical examination and an in-person visit. interview.

To be eligible for the immigrant visa, the applicant must have completed at least a high school diploma or two years of qualifying work experience and must demonstrate that they are not subject to any applicable inadmissibility grounds related to health, criminal activity, security, prior immigration violations, fraud and misrepresentation, public charge, among others. To overcome the public charge ineligibility ground, the applicant must either demonstrate that they have or will have sufficient income and/or assets, or have a friend or relative complete an Affidavit of Support agreeing to sponsor financially the applicant once in the United States. Immigrant visa must be issued by September 30e – the last day of the financial year.

We are currently approaching the end of fiscal year 2022 (September 30e) with fiscal year 2023 set to begin October 1st. This means that winners of DV-2022 (lottery for fiscal year 2022) must receive their immigrant visas before the end of the month. The DV-2023 “winners” were announced in May 2022 and their immigrant visas must be issued between October 1, 2022 and September 30, 2023. In October of this year, DOS is expected to open the registration period for the DV-2024. It is usually open for one month. “Winners” will be announced in May 2023 and immigrant visas for DV-2024 will be granted between October 1, 2023 and September 30, 2024.

The chances of being selected for the lottery are quite low since millions of people register for the lottery every fiscal year. DOS typically selects over 100,000 “winners”, which is twice the number of visas available, as many people may ultimately decide not to apply for the green card or will not be eligible depending on the requirements.

The DV Lottery has been around for nearly three decades and has helped many immigrants achieve their American dream. They brought valuable talent to the American workforce. But the program has nonetheless been criticized over the years and has suffered several legislative attempts to eliminate it. As we contemplate comprehensive immigration reform, it will be interesting to observe whether and in what form the DV Lottery will remain part of the US immigration framework. As of now, the DV-2024 lottery registration period is expected to open in a few weeks and millions of people are expected to apply for their chance to “win” the opportunity for permanent residency in the United States.

Originally posted by Legal intelligence.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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