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It is that time of year again. The U.S. Department of State’s Diversity Visa Program opened at noon on October 1 and will close on November 3, also at noon. For those not in the know, the Diversity Visa Program is an annual lottery open to nationals of countries with lower rates of immigration to the United States. A maximum of 55,000 permanent resident visas are set aside for the lucky winners, although 5,000 of those visas are held back for beneficiaries under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act.

While selection is based purely on luck, the Department of State has put in place eligibility requirements. The detailed instructions are found here. In brief:

  1. You or your spouse must have been born in an eligible country.
  2. You need a high school education or the equivalent or two years’ work experience in a select group of occupations.
  3. Enter only once. Multiple entries will be ferreted out and disqualified.
  4. Complete the electronic application at the link below. It is free, so if someone offers to submit the entry for a fee, be wary.
  5. Upload the required digital photographs.
  6. Submit your entry between October 1 and noon, November 3, 2014.

Natives of the following countries are not eligible for the Diversity Visa Program: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, 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.

If you have friends or family who want to try their hand at the 2016 DV lottery, here is a link to Department of State’s entry page:

Good luck!