Labor, Employment and Benefits Update


The diversity immigrant visa lottery under the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1997 provides 50,000 immigrant visas each fiscal year to natives of countries from which immigration has been low over the preceding five years.

This program is informally known as the "DV visa lottery," and it will be of interest to companies that employ foreign nationals. Please note that the registration period for this year's lottery begins November 5, 2004.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

The State Department recently issued guidelines for the tenth year (fiscal year 2006) of the DV visa lottery program. The DV program is open to natives of most countries. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determines the distribution of visas and allocates more visas to low-admission areas. The following "high admission" countries are excluded from this year's program: Canada, China (mainland-born, except Hong Kong S.A.R., Macau S.A.R. and Taiwan), Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Immigration Law Update: The Visa Lottery India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. Persons born in Hong Kong S.A.R., Macau S.A.R. and Taiwan are eligible. A complete list of eligible and ineligible countries is attached.

In order to be eligible, an applicant must be a native of one of the designated countries. In most cases this means the country in which the applicant was born. However, if a person was born in a country whose natives are ineligible but his/her spouse was born in a country whose natives are eligible, such person can claim the spouse's country of birth providing both the applicant and spouse are issued visas and enter the U.S. simultaneously.

If a person was born in a country whose natives are ineligible, but neither of his/her parents was born there or resided there at the time of the birth, such person may be able to claim nativity in one of the parents' country of birth.

In addition, an applicant must have at least a high school education or its equivalent or within the past five years must have worked at least two years in an occupation that requires two years of training or experience. To determine whether a particular occupation is one that requires at least two years training or experience, the State Department will now refer to the Department of Labor's O*Net OnLine database, www.onlinetcenter.org. Applicants can also link to a Labor Department list of qualifying occupations at the Consular Affairs website, www.travel.state.gov. Documentary proof of education or work experience should not be submitted with the initial application for registration. However, successful applicants will need to offer documentary proof that they possess the requisite education or experience at the time of actual processing for a visa.

There is no minimum age for applicants for registration under the DV program. However, the requirement of a high school education or work experience for each principal applicant will effectively disqualify most persons who are under the age of 18. Nevertheless, as is explained below, children who are under age 21 and unmarried may obtain status derivatively through their parents.

The spouse and children of a successful applicant for DV status are automatically entitled to the same status. To be eligible to obtain a visa on this basis, a child must be under the age of 21 and unmarried. In addition, if otherwise eligible, spouses may each submit a DV application. If either is successful, the other would be entitled to derivative status.

WHEN IS THE APPLICATION PERIOD AND WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS?

The Department of State will only accept completed Electronic Diversity Entry Forms submitted electronically at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov/ during the 63 day registration period beginning November 5, 2004 and ending January 7, 2005.

Successfully registered entries will result in the display of a confirmation screen containg the applicant's name, date of birth, country of chargeability, and a date/time stamp.

Applicants may print this confirmation screen for their records. Paper entries will not be accepted. Only one application may be submitted for each applicant during this period. (Submission of more than one application will disqualify the applicant from registration.)

Further, all the required photographs must be submitted or the entry will be disqualified. Recent photographs of the applicant and his/her spouse and each child under 21 years of age, including all natural children, as well as all legally adopted and stepchildren, (except a child who is already a U.S. citizen or a Legal Permanent Resident), even if a child no longer resides with the applicant or is not intended to immigrate under the DV program, must be submitted electronically with the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form. Group or family photos will not be accepted; there must be a separate photo for each family member.

Each applicant, his/her spouse, and each child will need a computer file containing his/her digital photo (image) which will be submitted on-line with the EDV Entry Form. The image file can be produced either by taking a new digital photograph or by scanning a photographic print with a digital scanner.

If the submitted digital images do not conform to the following compositional specifications, the entry will be disqualified:

  • Applicant, spouse, or child must be directly facing the camera; the head of the person being photographed should not be tilted up, down or to the side, and should cover about 50% of the area of the photo.

  • The photo should be taken with the person being photographed in front of a neutral, light-colored background. Photos taken with dark or patterned, backgrounds will not be accepted.

  • Photos in which the face of the person being photographed is not in focus will not be accepted.

  • Photos in which the person being photographed is wearing sunglasses or other paraphernalia which detracts from the face will not be accepted.

  • Photos of applicants wearing head coverings or hats are only acceptable due to religious beliefs, and even then, may not obscure any portion of the face of the applicant. Photos of applicants with tribal or other headgear not specifically religious in nature are not acceptable. Photos of military, airline or other personnel wearing hats will not be accepted.

If the submitted digital images do not conform to the following technical specifications, the system will automatically reject the EDV Entry Form and notify the sender. If taking a new digital image:

  • The image must be in the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) format.

  • It must have a resolution of 320 pixels high by 240 pixels wide, and a color depth of either 24-bit color, 8-bit color, or 8-bit grayscale.

  • The maximum image size accepted will be sixty-two thousand five hundred (62,500) bytes.

If a photographic print is scanned:

  • The print must be 2 inches by 2 inches (50mm x 50mm) square and it must be either in color or grayscale.

If the photographic print meets the print size, print color and compositional specifications, the print can be scanned using the following scanner specifications:

  • It must be scanned at a resolution of 150 dots per inch (dpi), the image must be in JPEG format, maximum image file size alloted is sixty-two thousand five hundred (62,500) bytes with an image resolution of 300 pixels high by 300 pixels wide.

THE ENTRY

There is only one way to enter the DV- 2006 lottery. Applicants must submit an Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form (EDV Entry Form), which is accessible only at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov/. Failure to complete the form in its entirety will disqualify the applicant's entry. Applicants will be asked to submit the following information on the EDV Entry Form.

  1. FULL NAME — Last/Family Name, First Name, Middle name

  2. DATE OF BIRTH — Day, Month, Year

  3. GENDER — Male or Female

  4. CITY/TOWN OF BIRTH

  5. COUNTRY OF BIRTH — The name of the country should be that which is currently in use for the place where the applicant was born.

  6. APPLICANT PHOTOGRAPH — See above for information on photo specifications.

  7. MAILING ADDRESS — Address, City/Town, District/Country/Province/ State, Postal Code/Zip Code, Country

  8. PHONE NUMBER (optional)

  9. E-MAIL ADDRESS (optional)

  10. COUNTRY OF ELIGIBILITY
    IF THE APPLICANT'S NATIVE COUNTRY IS DIFFERENT FROM COUNTRY OF BIRTH —If the applicant is claiming nativity in a country other than his/her place of birth, this information must be submitted on the entry.

  11. MARRIAGE STATUS — Unmarried, married, divorced, widowed, legally separated

  12. NUMBER OF CHILDREN THAT ARE UNMARRIED AND UNDER 21 YEARS OF AGE - Except children that are either U.S. legal permanent residents or U.S. Citizens.

  13. SPOUSE INFORMATION —Name, Date of Birth, Gender, City/Town of Birth, Country of Birth, Photograph.

  14. CHILDREN INFORMATION — Name, Date of Birth, Gender, City/Town of Birth, Country of Birth, Photograph

NOTE: Entries must include the name, date and place of birth of the applicant's spouse and all natural children, as well as all legally-adopted and stepchildren, who are unmarried and under the age of 21, except those children who are already U.S. citizens or Legal Permanent Residents, even if the applicant is no longer legally married to the child's parent, and even if the spouse or child does not currently reside with the applicant and/or will not immigrate with the applicant. Note that married children and children 21 years or older will not qualify for the diversity visa. Failure to list all children will result in disqualification for the visa.

WHAT HAPPENS IF SOMEONE "WINS" THE LOTTERY?

Applicants will be selected at random by computer from among all qualified entries.

Those selected will be notified by mail between May and July 2005 and will be provided further instructions, including information on fees connected with immigration to the U.S. Persons not selected will NOT receive any notification. U.S. embassies and consulates will not be able to provide a list of successful applicants. Spouses and unmarried children under age 21 of successful applicants may also apply for visas to accompany or follow to join the principal applicant. DV-2006 visas will be issued between October 1, 2005 and September 30, 2006.

In order to actually receive a visa, applicants selected in the random drawing must meet ALL eligibility requirements under U.S. law.

Processing of entries and issuance of diversity visas to successful applicants and their eligible family members MUST occur by midnight on September 30, 2006. Under no circumstances can diversity visas be issued or adjustments approved after this date, nor can family members obtain diversity visas to follow to join the applicant in the U.S. after this date.

NO fee is charged to enter the annual DV program. The U.S. Government employs no outside consultants or private services to operate the DV program. Any intermediaries or others who offer assistance to prepare DV casework for applicants do so without the authority or consent of the U.S. Government. Use of any outside intermediary or assistance to prepare a DV entry is entirely at the applicant's discretion.

A qualified entry submitted electronically directly by an applicant has an equal chance of being selected by the computer at the Kentucky Consular Center as does an entry submitted electronically through a paid intermediary who completes the entry for the applicant. Every entry received during the lottery registration period will have an equal random chance of being selected within its region. However, receipt of more than one entry per person will disqualify the person from registration, regardless of the source of the entry.

Although more than 50,000 applicants will be selected, only 50,000 visas will actually be issued. Therefore, successful applicants must be prepared to act quickly. While there is no fee for the submission of an initial application for the DV program, a special DV case processing fee will be payable later by those whose entries are actually selected and processed for DV-2005 visas. In addition, DV-2005 applicants must submit the regular visa fees at the time of visa issuance, and must meet all eligibility requirements under U. S. law in order to be issued visas.

For further information about immigration law, visit our website at www.BusinessVisaLink or contact Alice DeTora, Megan Naughton or Joshua Mirer at (800) 826-3579 or e-mail the group at ipg@rc.com.

LISTS OF QUALIFYING COUNTRIES BY REGION

The lists below show the countries qualified within each geographic region for this year's Diversity Program. The determination of countries within each region is based on information provided by the Geographer of the Department of State. The countries which do not qualify for this year's program were identified by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services according to the formula in Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Dependent areas overseas are included within the region of the governing country. Any countries which do not qualify for this year's program are noted after the respective regional list.

AFRICA
ALGERIA
ANGOLA
BENIN
BOTSWANA
BURKINA FASO
BURUNDI
CAMEROON
CAPE VERDE
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
CHAD
COMOROS
CONGO
CONGO, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE COTE D'IVOIRE (IVORY COAST)
DJIBOUTI
EGYPT
EQUATORIAL GUINEA

ERITREA
ETHIOPIA
GABON
GAMBIA, THE
GHANA
GUINEA
GUINEA-BISSAU
KENYA
LESOTHO
LIBERIA
LIBYA
MADAGASCAR
MALAWI
MALI
MAURITANIA
MAURITIUS
MOROCCO
MOZAMBIQUE
NAMIBIA

NIGER
NIGERIA
RWANDA
SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE
SENEGAL
SEYCHELLES
SIERRA LEONE
SOMALIA
SOUTH AFRICA
SUDAN
SWAZILAND
TANZANIA
TOGO
TUNISIA
UGANDA
ZAMBIA
ZIMBABWE

ASIA
AFGHANISTAN
BAHRAIN
BANGLADESH
BHUTAN
BRUNEI
BURMA
CAMBODIA
EAST TIMOR
HONG KONG
SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGION
INDONESIA
IRAN

IRAQ
ISRAEL
JAPAN
JORDAN
KUWAIT
LAOS
LEBANON
MALAYSIA
MALDIVES
MONGOLIA
NEPAL

NORTH KOREA
OMAN
QATAR
SAUDI ARABIA
SINGAPORE
SRI LANKA
SYRIA
TAIWAN
THAILAND
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
YEMEN

Asian countries which do not qualify for this year's Diversity Program: CHINA (mainland-born), INDIA, PAKISTAN, SOUTH KOREA, the PHILIPPINES and VIETNAM. HONG KONG S.A.R., and Taiwan do qualify and are listed above. Macau S.A.R. also qualifies and is listed below.

EUROPE
ALBANIA
ANDORRA
ARMENIA
AUSTRIA
AZERBAIJAN
BELARUS
BELGIUM
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
BULGARIA
CROATIA
CYPRUS
CZECH REPUBLIC
DENMARK
including components and
dependent areas overseas
ESTONIA
FINLAND
FRANCE
including components and
dependent areas overseas
GEORGIA
GERMANY

GREECE
HUNGARY
ICELAND
IRELAND
ITALY
KAZAKHSTAN
KYRGYZSTAN
LATVIA
LECHTENSTEIN
LITHUANIA
LUXEMBOURG
MACAU SPECIAL ADMINISTRATION
REGION
MACEDONIA
(the former Yugoslav Republic)
MALTA
MOLDOVA
MONACO
NETHERLANDS
including components and
dependent areas overseas

NORTHERN IRELAND
NORWAY
POLAND
PORTUGAL
including components and
dependent areas overseas
ROMANIA
SAN MARINO
SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO
SLOVAKIA
SLOVENIA
SPAIN
SWEDEN
SWITZERLAND
TAJIKISTAN
TURKEY
TURKMENISTAN
UKRAINE
UZBEKISTAN
VATICAN CITY

In Europe, GREAT BRITAIN and RUSSIA do not qualify for this year's Diversity Program. GREAT BRITAIN (UNITED KINGDOM) includes the following dependent areas: ANGUILLA, BERMUDA, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS, CAYMAN ISLANDS, FALKLAND ISLANDS, GIBRALTAR, MONTSERRAT, PITCAIRN, ST. HELENA, TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS. Note that for purposes of the Diversity Program only, Northern Ireland is treated separately; Northern Ireland does qualify and is listed among the qualifying countries.

NORTH AMERICA
BAHAMAS, THE

In North America, CANADA and MEXICO do not qualify for this year's Diversity Program.

OCEANIA

AUSTRALIA
including components and
dependent areas overseas
FIJI
KIRIBATI
MARSHALL ISLANDS

MICRONESIA, FEDERATED STATES OF NAURU
NEW ZEALAND
including components and
dependent areas overseas
PALAU

PAPUA NEW GUINEA
SAMOA
SOLOMON ISLANDS
TONGA
TUVALU
VANUATU

SOUTH AMERICA, CENTRAL AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
ARGENTINA
BARBADOS
BELIZE
BOLIVIA
BRAZIL
CHILE
COSTA RICA
CUBA

DOMINICA
ECUADOR
GRENADA
GUATEMALA
GUYANA
HONDURAS
NICARAGUA
PANAMA
PARAGUAY

PERU
SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS
SAINT LUCIA
SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES
SURINAME
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
URUGUAY VENEZUELA

Countries in this region which do not qualify for this year's Diversity Program: COLOMBIA, the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EL SALVADOR, HAITI, JAMAICA and MEXICO.