In my column This week's Consulta Migratoria® explains the visa lottery program and who is eligible to register for the next lottery.
This is the column:
The U.S. Department of State announced that the new deadline to register and submit electronic forms for the visa lottery begins next Tuesday, October 3, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. EDT and ends at 12:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, November 7, 2017.
The enrollment period is for the 2019 fiscal year draw covering October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019.
These visas, which allow eligible immigrants to obtain permanent residency in the United States, are extremely popular. Millions of immigrants apply in hopes of being selected for the 50,000 diversity visas that are raffled off each year.
Although applicants depend on luck to win one of these visas in the lottery, being selected is not an automatic guarantee that they will receive a visa. To qualify, individuals must meet several requirements, including having at least a high school education or two years of work experience in an occupation that has required training. They must also be admissible to the country. If not, they will be denied a visa.
Diversity visas are granted to individuals from countries that have low rates of immigration to the United States. Among the countries eligible for the new enrollment period:
Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela.
From Latin America, are not Eligible individuals from Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru and Mexico.
How to apply for registration
To participate in the lottery, an electronic application must be submitted on the website www.dvlottery.state.gov.
Detailed instructions on how to participate in the fiscal year 2019 visa lottery can be found by clicking here.
Make sure all information is correct and follow the instructions carefully.
Your application will be disqualified if it does not meet the enrollment requirements.
The procedure is free of charge and can only be done during the registration period stipulated by the Department of State, which this year runs from October 3, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time (EDT) until 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time (EDT) on Tuesday, November 7, 2017.
If you wish to participate, you should submit the electronic form as soon as possible. If you wait until the last week of the registration period, there may be delays on the website due to high demand before the deadline and you may not be able to register in time.
The law allows only one entry per person during each registration period. The State Department uses sophisticated technology that can detect if someone has made multiple entries. If they identify people who have submitted the form multiple times to try to increase their chances of winning a visa, they will be eliminated from the lottery.
How to find out who won the visa lottery
The Government makes the notification of the selected candidates only on the website www.dvlottery.state.gov. For the next draw, the winners will be announced as of May 1, 2018.
Each applicant will have to verify on his or her own whether he or she was 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 have been selected, you have a limited time during fiscal year 2019 to complete the appropriate paperwork. You must act quickly, because if you miss the deadline, you lose your visa eligibility.
Beware of fraudulent notifications. If you receive an e-mail saying you won and you are asked for money, it is most likely a scam. Report it to the authorities.
A great advantage of winning the visa lottery is that if you are married or have children, they may also receive the benefit of a visa and permanent residency if they meet the necessary requirements.
If in doubt, consult an immigration attorney for proper advice.
Danger of visa lottery program cancellation
In 2013, the Democrat-led U.S. Senate voted to cancel the diversity visa program, but the bill did not become law. However, efforts to end the visa lottery continue.
Currently, there is a legal bill in the Senate introduced by Republicans that seeks to eliminate the visa lottery. Therefore, if the current bill were to become law within the next year, the FY 2019 visa lottery could be the last.