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2014 Diversity Lottery Instructions Will Soon Be Available

In the coming weeks, we expect the U.S. Department of State to release registration instructions for the 2014 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV-2014), also known as the Green Card Lottery. The Diversity Lottery Program provides a path for foreign nationals to become permanent residents of the United States regardless of whether they have a family member or an employer willing to sponsor them. This program is a success, facilitating the immigration of people from across the globe.

The State Department will open online registration on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 12:00 noon EST. Individuals who meet the eligibility requirements and submit an application during the appointed time will be entered into a lottery from which 55‚000 green card entries will be selected. Applications must be submitted electronically by 12:00 noon EST on Saturday‚ November 3‚ 2012. The electronic form should soon be available on the State Department’s website at There is no fee. Entries may not be submitted through the U.S. Postal Service.  

Selection in the lottery does not guarantee the applicant a green card; applicants must still meet all standards for admissibility and be able to process their green cards within the allotted time. Immediate family members of successful lottery applicants are eligible for green cards as well, provided they meet the same admissibility standards. Individuals who are selected and eligible for one of the 55,000 visa numbers may either secure an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate or, if they are in the United States and qualified to do so, adjust status by filing an application and supporting documentation with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Lottery visas are apportioned to foreign nationals hailing from the following six geographic regions: Africa; Asia; Europe; North America; Oceania; and South America‚ Central America, and the Caribbean. To qualify‚ a foreign national must claim nativity or country of birth in an eligible country and meet certain education or work experience requirements. The purpose of the program is to diversify and encourage immigration from countries that send lower numbers of immigrants to the United States.

Not all countries in the six eligible regions fall within the Green Card Lottery program. Because each of the following countries has sent more than 50‚000 immigrants to the United States in the past five years, natives of these countries were NOT eligible for the lottery this past year: 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. Mintz Levin will monitor developments to inform you about the countries excluded from the Green Card Lottery for DV-2014. We expect this information to become available shortly. Based on our latest information, persons born in Hong Kong SAR‚ Macau SAR‚ and Taiwan will very likely be eligible for DV-2014.

To fulfill the education/work experience provisions‚ an applicant must have either a high school education or its equivalent‚ or two years of work experience in the last five years in a job that requires at least two years of training or experience.

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Douglas Hauer is a Mintz attorney and noted authority on the EB-5 investor visa program, which gives developers a path for securing capital for real estate, hospitality, and infrastructure projects. He's an essential resource for companies looking for financing from offshore sources.