• 2015 Diversity Visa Lottery Is Open for Registrations
  • October 3, 2013
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • The State Department has begun accepting registrations for the FY 2015 Diversity Visa Lottery. Foreign nationals have until Saturday, November 2, 2013 at noon EDT to submit their online registration forms and accompanying photographs.

    Lottery registrations do not appear to be affected by the federal shutdown at the present time, but may see an impact if the shutdown continues. Fragomen will issue updates if lottery registrations are suspended later on.

    Registrants who are selected in this year’s lottery will be informed on May 1, 2014. They will be eligible to submit their green card applications during the 2015 fiscal year, which begins October 1, 2014.

    Who Is Eligible to Enter the Lottery?

    The DV lottery is open to natives of countries that have historically low rates of immigration to the United States. Entrants must also have a high school education (or equivalent) or at least two years of qualifying work experience.

    Individuals from countries with high rates of U.S. immigration are not eligible to register. This year, those born in the following countries are ineligible: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.

    Unlike previous years, people born in Nigeria may not register for the DV lottery.

    People born in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan can participate.

    People who cannot register because their country of birth is excluded may be able to qualify through a spouse who was born in an eligible country or, in certain circumstances, through a parent’s country of birth.

    DOMA and the DV Lottery

    Same-sex spouses along with their minor children are eligible for the same immigration benefits as opposite-sex spouses. DV lottery applicants may include same-sex spouses in their initial entries or add a spouse acquired after their initial registration.

    Registering for the Lottery

    To register, a foreign national must submit an online form and a digital photo through the official DV lottery website. Only one entry is permitted per person. If there are multiple registrations on behalf of one person, all of them are disqualified.

    Applicants must carefully follow the State Department’s official lottery instructions. Lottery entries and digital photos that do not precisely conform to the instructions will be disqualified.

    How Are Lottery Winners Chosen and Notified?

    The State Department chooses lottery winners by random computer selection. Results will be published starting May 1, 2014 on the official DV lottery entry status website.

    Foreign nationals can learn whether they were selected only by visiting the official website and entering their registration number. The State Department does not notify entrants by letter, e-mail, fax or telephone. The official website is the only legitimate source of lottery results.

    Guarding Against Lottery Fraud

    Unfortunately, DV lottery fraud is very common. However, foreign nationals can and should take a few precautions to protect themselves.

    • Look out for deceptive lottery websites. The only authorized DV lottery website is located on the State Department website. The State Department does not use or authorize any outside individual or company to accept lottery applications or operate the lottery. But websites posing as official government sites or claiming to have State Department authorization abound. They should be avoided.

    • The State Department does not charge a fee for lottery registrations. A website, individual or company claiming there is a government fee to enter the lottery is fraudulent.
    • If lottery assistance is needed, seek competent advice. Though applicants may use a lawyer or other representative to prepare a lottery registration, they should be wary of commercial websites that claim to register applicants outside of the registration period or purport to be authorized by the State Department to accept registrations for a fee.
    • Beware of lottery e-mails, letters or faxes that claim to be from the State Department. The State Department does not send e-mails, letters or faxes about the DV lottery. The official website is the only legitimate source of information about lottery results and the only place to submit a lottery registration.
    • Be skeptical of any communication claiming a foreign national has won the DV lottery when he or she did not register or registered in a previous year.
    • Avoid sending money or personal information to questionable individuals or companies.
    • Learn more about DV lottery fraud by visiting the websites of the State Department and the Federal Trade Commission.