The Department of State recently announced instructions for the fiscal year 2009 diversity lottery for permanent residence (“green card”). The application period began at 12:00 PM EDT (GMT –4) on Wednesday, October 3, 2007 and will end at 12:00 PM EST (GMT –5) on Sunday, December 2, 2007. Applications are submitted via the Department of State’s electronic registration system at Paper applications will not be accepted. The Department of State will only accept applications submitted during the above 60 day registration period. 

The annual diversity lottery program makes available permanent resident visas to certain eligible persons from countries with a low rate of immigration to the United States. There are 50,000 visas available for the FY 2008 diversity lottery. In past years, approximately 6 -7 million people have applied for the program.

For 2009, persons born in any of the following countries are not eligible to apply because they sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. over the period of the previous five years:

Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible.

Applicants must have a high school education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education, OR two years of work experience within the five years preceding the date of the application, in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform.

Diversity lottery visas will be issued between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009.

For more information and to register with the Department of State’s diversity lottery program visit this link: or contact your Ogletree immigration professional.

Note: This article was published in the October 7, 2007 issue of the Immigration eAuthority.


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Ogletree Deakins has one of the largest business immigration practices in the United States and provides a wide range of legal services for employers seeking temporary business visas and permanent residence on behalf of foreign national employees.

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