Office of the Spokesman Washington, DC
September 29, 2009
Green Card Lottery
Office of the Spokesman Washington, DC
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The Department of State administers the Congressionally-mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program annually. Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants,” from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. For fiscal year 2018, 50,000 diversity visas (DVs) will be available. There is no cost to register for the DV Program.
Topics Discussed, Thursday, 17 December 2015:
FAQ: Can TN work on 1099 as independent contractor; Difference between I-140 withdrawn and revoked;
Other: H-1 quota exemption; H-1B denial; H-1B how to file Form DS-160; I-140 revoked, refiling; H-1 L-1 221(g); I-130 processing; I-485 approval while COS pending; I-90 to renew green card; Misrepresentation in visa/ESTA; Contract for B-1/B-2 visa for domestic help from foreign country; Getting H-1 extension I-140 revoked, refiled; DV lottery (NOT my area of expertise); H-1 change of location; Does H-4 extension also extend H-4 visa stamp automatically? I-140 recapture or port priority date; Travelling while STEM extension pending.
The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered annually by the Department of State. Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants” from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. For Fiscal Year 2017, 50,000 Diversity Visas (DVs) will be available. There is no cost to register for the DV program. Applicants who are selected in the program (“selectees”) must meet simple, but strict, eligibility requirements in order to qualify for a diversity visa.
DV 2016 Program: Online registration for the DV 2016 Program will begin on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), and will conclude on Monday, November 3, 2014 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4).
WASHINGTON — The popular Green Card Lottery program could be eliminated if the U.S. Congress passes the current version of the bipartisan immigration reform plan. The lottery was set up as a way to give anyone a chance at the "American dream." But the new plan will focus instead on adding more highly-educated workers in science, technology, engineering and math.
Two years ago Rafiq-ul-Islam won a U.S. permanent resident visa through the Green Card Lottery and came to the United States from Bangladesh -- with little more than the clothing he owned and a dream of a better life in America.
“I apply for [and] came [to] America. I want to change my luck. If I can change my luck I can support my family, everything, all will be changed, everything like, that’s why I applied,” he said.
The late Senator Edward Kennedy came up with the idea for a visa lottery system in the 1990s -- as a way to give opportunity to European and other countries with low immigration quotas. The lottery program -- officially known as the diversity visa -- is relatively small, granting about 50,000 visas compared to the more than one million new green cards issued each year.
The lucky winners like ul-Islam must pass a background check, but need only a high school degree or work experience to qualify. Immigration attorney Rajiv Khanna says the diversity visa has come to symbolize core American values.
“But United States is blessed and perhaps cursed with that unique vision we have, that we are as a nation, a citizen of the world community. And we have to accommodate certain things in good conscience and good faith rather than as a matter of self-interest,” Khanna said.
But under the proposed immigration reform plan being considered by the U.S. Congress, the diversity visa faces elimination. Instead, the plan would expand opportunities for professionals like Bhushan Parekh who hold advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math. Parekh’s H-1B professional visa was sponsored by a major U.S. company.
“Because I had done the engineering in India, the 4-year degree, and I’d also worked in India for a year after. During the interview process it was very apparent to them that I had the management skills they were looking for,” Parekh said.
Some members of Congress oppose eliminating the diversity visa -- saying the U.S. should give some opportunity to the world's poor and disadvantaged. But, in these hard economic times, Khanna says fairness is no longer the priority.
“So diversity by itself is no longer the virtue that we seek in our current immigration system as proposed. What we seek instead is, ‘What can you do for us?,’” Khanna said.
Khanna says while U.S. businesses are lobbying for more professional visas, the poor from developing countries have no such powerful sponsors.