Tags: Immigration | path to citizenship | diversity visa

Path to Citizenship: Who Qualifies for a Diversity Visa?

By    |   Monday, 24 Aug 2015 03:38 PM

Natives of Mexico, Canada and the 18 other countries with the highest rates of immigration to the United States aren’t allowed to acquire a diversity visa to enable them to start down the path to U.S. citizenship. But potential immigrants from the rest of the world’s nations are eligible to enter a Green Card Lottery, which gives them a shot at obtaining permanent legal resident status in the land of opportunity.

The Department of State’s Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which seeks to increase the diversity of the U.S. population, annually holds the random, computerized drawing each fall while offering 50,000 immigrant visas to natives of foreign countries who meet simple, but strict, requirements. Natives of 20 countries aren’t eligible because more than 50,000 natives of each of those countries have immigrated to the United States in the past five years.

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Participation in the lottery is open to natives of all countries but:
  • In Africa, Nigeria.
  • In Asia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, South Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam, and China (for those born in mainland China).
  • In Europe, the United Kingdom (with the exception of Northern Ireland, where residents are eligible) and its territories.
  • In North America, Canada, and Mexico.
  • In Central and South America, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, and Peru.

Each country may receive no more than 7 percent of the total amount of diversity visas, according to the U.S. Green Card Lottery website.

To register for the lottery, applicants must either have a high school diploma earned in their home country or the U.S., or have worked a minimum of two years in a position that requires at least two years of experience, training or education, the New York Daily News reported. It indicated possession of a high school Graduate Equivalent Diploma is not sufficient to meet the degree requirement.

Winners of the Green Card Lottery don’t always acquire green cards, the Daily News reported. It said the State Department each year selects more lottery winners than it allots green cards. Those who are picked receive a number indicating their place in line, which is based on their region of the world, the Daily News reported. It indicated entrants receive a diversity visa if they get “to the front of the line” before Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year for which they won.

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Congress since 1999 has set aside 5,000 other diversity visas annually “to be made available for use under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act,” the State Department website said.

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Natives of Mexico, Canada and the 18 other countries with the highest rates of immigration to the United States aren't allowed to acquire a diversity visa to enable them to start down the path to U.S. citizenship.
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2015-38-24
Monday, 24 Aug 2015 03:38 PM
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