The Department of State recently announced that it will begin accepting electronically submitted applications for the 2013 Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery between noon, Eastern Daylight Time on October 4, 2011, and noon, Eastern Daylight Time on November 5, 2011.  The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program provides 50,000 visas each year to nationals of countries that have historically lower rates of U.S. immigration.

Among other requirements, applicants must be a national of a qualifying country or be able to qualify as a national of another country through a spouse or parent (under limited circumstances).  The applicant must have at least a high school education or two years of qualifying work experience.  The Department of State will only accept applications through the Internet, www.dvlottery.state.gov, during the prescribed filing period.  Applicants must also electronically upload photographs and will receive a confirmation number after filing.  Applicants must use the confirmation number to check the status of their application.  The Department of State will not send out notifications that an applicant was selected in the lottery.  Instead, applicants must use the Entrant Status Check on the DOS website to learn if they were selected for the lottery and to receive further processing instructions.  It is imperative that applicants not lose their confirmation number. 

Countries excluded from the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program:  Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Mainland China, 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.

Natives of South Sudan and Poland are eligible for the program, as are persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan.

Full details about the Diversity Visa lottery can be found at the Department of State’s website, www.dvlottery.state.gov.