Online registration has opened for the 2018 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program.

The program provides 50,000 immigrant visas (green cards) to people from countries with historically low levels of immigration to the United States. Applicants must meet eligibility requirements and are selected through a randomized computer drawing.

Key points:

  • Registration opened Tuesday at noon EDT and will end Nov. 7 at noon EST.
  • The State Department urges applicants not to wait until the final week to register because heavy demand may cause delays.
  • Applicants must apply online by submitting the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form at

Background: Applicants must be born in an eligible country, with certain exceptions available for applicants whose spouse or parents were born in an eligible country even if they were not. Applicants must also meet educational or work requirements. Those requirements include having obtained a high school education (or the equivalent) or having worked in two of the past five years in a qualifying occupation.

Each individual may only submit one entry; those who submit more than one entry will be disqualified.

Lottery winners will be selected at random next year. Applicants will be given a confirmation number they can use to check whether they have been selected beginning May 2, 2017.

BAL Analysis: Those interested in entering the lottery should review the State Department’s Diversity Visa Instructions page. Applicants are reminded not to wait until the end of the application period to submit their entry forms.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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