The U.S. Department of State opened entries for the Diversity Lottery 2010 (DV-2010) beginning October 2, 2008 at noon EDT, and ending December 1, 2008, at noon EST. All entries must be submitted via the Department of State's online system; paper submissions are no longer accepted. Only one entry may be submitted per person. Spouses may submit separate entries (if one spouse is selected, the other is entitled to derivative status).
Instructions and the full announcement are available here at the Department of State Web site.
Each fiscal year, up to 55,000 diversity visas are made available to individuals born in countries with low rates of immigration to the United States (defined as less than 50,000 immigrants over the past five years).
Individuals who are natives of (in most cases, born in) the following countries are NOT eligible for DV-2010:
BRAZIL, CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, ECUADOR, EL SALVADOR, GUATEMALA, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PHILIPPINES, PERU, POLAND, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and VIETNAM.
There are two potential exceptions that should be assessed for individuals born in countries whose natives are ineligible for the DV-2010 lottery. First, an individual born in an ineligible country may still be able to apply if he or she has a spouse born in an eligible country. Second, if an individual's parents were neither born in, nor resident of the ineligible country at the time of birth, the individual may claim to be a native of a parent's birth country.
Individuals who are selected will be notified by mail between May and July 2009. Selection 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 be available to the applicant. Applications for permanent residence may be submitted beginning in fiscal year 2010 (October 1, 2009). Applications may only be submitted when a visa number becomes available, as announced by the Department of State.
If an individual is pursuing other employment or family-based permanent residence in the United States, it does not preclude the individual from filing under the DV-2010 program.