Mark A Ivener, A Law Corporation

State Dept. Releases Instructions on Applying for DV-2016 Program

On September 24, 2014, the Department of State (DOS) released instructions on how to apply for the diversity visa (DV) 2016 program. Entries for the DV-2016 DV program must be submitted electronically at by noon EST (GMT-5), Monday, November 3, 2014.

The agency warned: “Do not wait until the last week of the registration period to enter, as heavy demand may result in Web site delays. No late entries or paper entries will be accepted.” DOS also noted that the law allows only one entry by or for each person during each registration period. DOS said it “uses sophisticated technology to detect multiple entries. Individuals with more than one entry will be disqualified.”

For fiscal year 2016, 50,000 diversity visas will be available. There is no cost to register for the DV Program. There are no changes in eligibility this year. For DV-2016, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because more than 50,000 natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years: 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.

The DOS notice states that based on the allocations of available visas in each region and country, individuals will be randomly selected by computer from among qualified entries. All DV-2016 entrants will be required to go to Entrant Status Check using the unique confirmation number saved from their DV-2016 online entry registration to find out whether their entries have been selected in the DV program. Entrant Status Check will be available at starting May 5, 2015, through at least June 30, 2016.

Those whose entries are selected will be directed to a confirmation page that will provide further instructions, including information on fees connected with immigration to the United States. Entrant Status Check will be the only means by which selectees will be notified of their selection for DV-2016. The Department of State will not mail out notification letters or notify selectees by email. U.S. embassies and consulates will not provide a list of selectees. DOS noted, “You are strongly encouraged to access Entrant Status Check yourself and not to rely on someone else to check and inform you.”

To receive a DV to immigrate to the United States, those who are selected still must meet all eligibility requirements. “These requirements may significantly increase the level of scrutiny required and time necessary for processing for natives of some countries listed in this notice including, but not limited to, countries identified as state sponsors of terrorism,” the DOS notice states.

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Mark A. Ivener, A Law Corporation, a nationally recognized law firm, has successfully assisted hundreds of clients in immigration matters.