Legal Updates & Alerts

Diversity Visa Lottery 2018 Open October 4 to November 7

October 3, 2016
The U.S. Department of State has announced registration dates for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery 2018 (DV-2018). Online registration for the lottery will be accepted beginning Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4) until Monday, November 7, 2016 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT-4).
The Diversity Lottery allows individuals from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States to apply through a lottery process for a diversity immigrant visa (to ultimately become a permanent resident of the United States, also known as a "green card holder"). Those selected in the lottery process must meet certain eligibility requirements.
For FY2018, 50,000 diversity visas will be made available. Natives of the following countries are NOT eligible to apply for the 2018 Diversity Lottery: BANGLADESH, BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EL SALVADOR, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, NIGERIA, PAKISTAN, PERU, PHILIPPINES, 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.
All entries must be submitted through the Department of State's online system; paper submissions are not accepted. Only one entry may be submitted per person. Spouses may submit separate entries (note that if one spouse is selected, the other is entitled to derivative status regardless of country of birth). There is no cost to register for the Diversity Lottery.
The Department of State has also amended the photograph requirements for diversity visa applicants.  Photographs must be taken no more than six months before the date of the lottery entry package, and the wearing of eyeglasses in the photograph is prohibited.
Beginning May 2, 2017, applicants will be able to check the status of their entry and determine if they have been selected through the lottery process (details are provided to applicants at the time of registration). Selection in the lottery does not mean that an individual will become a permanent resident. An individual must meet all qualifications for permanent residence, and a visa number must ultimately be available to the applicant. Those selected in the DV-2018 lottery may submit applications for permanent residence when a visa number for the individual becomes available beginning October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018.
Individuals pursuing other employment-based or family-based permanent residence processes in the United States may also register for the DV-2018 lottery. Instructions and the full announcement from the Department of State are available at:
This client alert is prepared for the general information of our clients and friends. It should not be regarded as legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this update, or for more information about this topic, please contact any of the attorneys in our Business Immigration practice group, or the attorney with whom you normally consult.