New visa lottery registration period opens

One of the ways to obtain permanent residency in the United States is through the diversity visa program.

Each year, the U.S. Department of State holds a lottery for these visas, commonly referred to as the visa lottery. These visas are given to individuals from countries that have a low rate of immigration to the United States and who meet certain requirements to be admissible to the country. Among them, they must have at least a high school education, or two years of work experience in an occupation that has required training. There are 50,000 visas available.

The registration period for the next draw - covering fiscal year 2014 - begins on October 2, 2012 and ends on November 3, 2012.

Eligible countries include: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela. People from Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico and Peru, among other countries, are not eligible.

To participate in the lottery, an electronic application must be submitted on the website The application can only be submitted during the 30-day period stipulated by the government (October 2 to November 3). The application is free of charge.

Lottery winners will only find out if they have won on May 1, 2013. Notification will only be made on the website. Notifications will no longer be sent by mail. It will be your responsibility to check if you have been selected. You will need to log in to the website with the confirmation number you received when you completed the online visa lottery application. If you are selected, you have a limited amount of time to complete the necessary paperwork. If you miss the deadline, you lose your visa eligibility. Be alert to fraudulent notifications. If you receive an email claiming you have won and asking for money, it is most likely a scam. Report it to the authorities.

A great advantage of winning the lottery is that if you are married or have children, they may also receive the benefit of a visa and permanent residency.

If in doubt, consult an immigration attorney for proper advice.