The 2016 Diversity Visa Program (DV-2016) will open at noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Wednesday, October 1, 2014, and will close at noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST), Monday, November 3, 2014. Applicants must submit entries electronically during this registration period using the electronic DV entry form (E-DV) at dvlottery.state.gov. Paper entries will not be accepted. All entrants must print and retain their online confirmation page after completing their DV entries so that they will be able to check their entry status. We strongly encourage applicants not to wait until the last week of the registration period to enter. Heavy demand may result in website delays. No entries will be accepted after noon EST on November 3, 2014.
The congressionally mandated Diversity Visa Program is administered on an annual basis by the Department of State and conducted under the terms of Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Section 131 of the Immigration Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-649) amended INA 203 provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants.” Sections 201(e) and 203(c) of the INA provide a maximum of 55,000 Diversity Visas each fiscal year to be made available to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States; however, since DV-1999, Congress has set aside 5,000 of this annual allocation to be made available for use under the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NACARA).
The annual DV program makes visas available to persons meeting the simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. A computer-generated, random drawing chooses selectees for Diversity Visas. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions, with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration, and with no visas going to nationals of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the period of the past five years. No single country may receive more than seven percent of the available Diversity Visas in any one year.
For DV-2016, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply because the countries sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the previous five years: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.
A “native” ordinarily means someone born within a particular country, regardless of the individual’s current country of residence or nationality. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible.
The Department of State implemented the electronic registration system beginning with DV-2005 in order to make the DV process more efficient and secure. We utilize special technology and other means to identify those who commit fraud for the purposes of illegal immigration or those who submit multiple entries.
For DV-2016, the Department of State will once again implement an online process to notify entrants of their selection, and to provide information about the immigrant visa application and interview. Beginning May 5, 2015, DV-2016 entrants will be able to use their unique confirmation number provided at registration to check online through Entry Status Check at dvlottery.state.gov to see if their entry was selected. Successful entrants will receive instructions for how to apply for immigrant visas for themselves and their eligible family members.
Confirmation of visa interview appointments will also be made through Entry Status Check.
For detailed information about entry requirements, along with frequently asked questions about the DV program, please see the instructions for the DV-2016 program available at http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/immigrate/diversity-visa/instructions.html.