Online registration opens Oct. 3 for the 2019 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 certain eligibility requirements and are selected through a randomized computer drawing.

Key points:

  • Registration to participate in the lottery begins Oct. 3 at noon EDT and ends Nov. 7 at noon EST.
  • Applicants must apply online by submitting the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form at
  • The State Department urges applicants not to wait until the final week to register because heavy demand may cause website delays.
  • Lottery winners will be selected at random in 2018. Registrants will be given a confirmation number they can use to check whether they have been selected beginning May 1, 2018, through at least Sept. 30, 2019.

Background: In order to qualify, registrants must be born in an eligible country and meet educational or work requirements.

This year, nationals of the following countries will not be eligible to apply: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland), Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, South Korea, the United Kingdom (not including Northern Ireland) and Vietnam. People born in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are eligible to apply. Registrants must also have a high school education (or the equivalent) or have 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 will be disqualified.

BAL Analysis: Those interested in entering the lottery may wish to review the State Department’s Diversity Visa Instructions page and 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 Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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