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U.S. Department of State
96/11/18 Statement: Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV-98)
Office of the Spokesman



Statement by Glyn Davies/Acting Spokesman
November 18, 1996



              Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV-98)



Section 203(c) of the Immigration Act of 1990 makes available 55,000 
permanent residence visas each year by random selection to persons from 
countries that have low rates of immigration to the United States.  The 
DV-98 registration mail-in period will last 30 days and will be held 
from noon on February 3, 1997 through noon on March 5, 1997.


How are the visas being apportioned?

The visas will be apportioned among six geographic regions.  A greater 
number of visas will go to those regions that have lower immigration 
rates.  There is, however, a limit of seven percent or 3,850 on the use 
of visas by natives of any one foreign state.

The regions along with their fiscal year 1998 visa allotments are:


-- AFRICA:  All countries on the continent of Africa and adjacent 
islands are eligible; 21,179 visas.

-- ASIA:  All countries are eligible except China, both mainland and 
Taiwan born, India, Philippines, South Korea, and Vietnam; 7,280 visas.  

-- EUROPE:  All countries are eligible except Great Britain (United 
Kingdom) and its dependent territories and Poland; (Northern Ireland is 
eligible); 23,213 visas.  

-- NORTH AMERICA:  The Bahamas is the only eligible country in the 
region this year; (Canada is not eligible for this year's lottery); 8 
visas. 

-- OCEANIA:  All countries in the region are eligible, including 
Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the countries and islands 
in the South Pacific; 844 visas. 

SOUTH AMERICA, CENTRAL AMERICA, AND THE CARIBBEAN:  All countries in the 
region are eligible except Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, 
Jamaica, and Mexico; 2,476.


Who is not eligible?

"High admission" countries are not eligible for the program.  "High 
admission" countries are defined as those from which the United States 
has received more than 50,000 immigrants during the last five years in 
the immediate relative, family and employment preference categories.  
Each year, the Immigration and Naturalization Service adds the family 
and employment immigrant admission figures for the previous five years, 
to identify the countries which must be excluded from the annual 
diversity lottery.  Since there is a separate determination made prior 
to each lottery application period, the list of countries that do not 
qualify is subject to change each year.  For 1998, "high admission" 
countries are:  China (Mainland and Taiwan), India, the Philippines, 
Vietnam, South Korea, Poland, United Kingdom and dependent territories, 
Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, El Salvador, Colombia, and the Dominican 
Republic.  Persons born in Hong Kong and Northern Ireland are eligible 
to apply for the DV-98 lottery.  


What are the requirements?

In addition to being born in a qualifying country, applicants must have 
either a high school education or its equivalent, or within the past 
five years have two years of work experience in an occupation that 
requires at least two years of training or experience.

There is no initial application fee or special application form to 
enter.  The entry must be typed or clearly printed in the English 
alphabet on a sheet of plain paper and should include the applicant's 
full name; date and place of birth for both the applicant and for the 
spouse or any minor children who might also wish to immigrate; the 
applicant's mailing address and, if possible, a telephone number; the 
applicant's native country if it differs from the country of birth; a 
recent 1 1/2 inches by 1 1/2 inches photograph of the principal 
applicant with the applicant's name printed across the back of the 
photograph.  (The photograph should be taped to the application with 
clear tape, not attached by staples or paper clips which can jam the 
mail processing equipment.)  The applicant must also sign the entry 
using his or her normal signature, regardless of whether it is prepared 
and submitted by the applicant or someone else.  (Only the principal 
applicant, not the spouse and children, needs to submit a signature and 
photograph.)  This information must be sent by regular mail or air mail 
to one of six postal addresses in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  Applicants 
must use the correct postal zip code designated for their native region 
(see addresses on page 3).  Entries must be mailed in a standard letter 
or business-size envelope with the applicant's native country, full 
name, and complete mailing address typed or clearly printed in the 
English alphabet in the upper left-hand corner of the envelope.  
Postcards are not acceptable.

Only one entry for each applicant may be submitted during the 
registration period.  Duplicate or multiple entries will disqualify 
individuals from registration for this program.  Entries received before 
or after the specified registration dates regardless of when they are 
postmarked and entries sent to an address other than one of those 
indicated on page 3 are void.  All mail received during the registration 
period will be individually numbered and entries will be selected at 
random by computer regardless of time of receipt during the mail-in 
period.


Where should entries be sent?


ASIA

DV-98 Program
National Visa Center
Portsmouth, NH  00210


EUROPE

DV-98 Program
National Visa Center
Portsmouth, NH 00212


OCEANIA

DV-98 Program
National Visa Center
Portsmouth, NH 00214


SOUTH AMERICA, CENTRAL AMERICA, AND THE CARIBBEAN

DV-98 Program
National Visa Center
Portsmouth, NH 00211


AFRICA

DV-98 Program
National Visa Center
Portsmouth, NH 00213


NORTH AMERICA

DV-98 Program
National Visa Center
Portsmouth, NH 00215


Is it necessary to use an outside attorney or consultant?

The decision to hire an attorney or consultant is entirely up to the 
applicant.  Procedures for entering the diversity lottery can be 
completed without assistance following simple instructions.  However, if 
applicants prefer to use outside assistance, that is their choice.  
There are many legitimate attorneys and immigration consultants 
assisting applicants for reasonable fees, or in some cases for free.  
Unfortunately, there are other persons who are charging exorbitant rates 
and making unrealistic claims.  The selection of winners is made at 
random and no outside service can improve an applicant's chances of 
being chosen or guarantee an entry will win.  Any service that claims it 
can improve an applicant's odds would be promising something it cannot 
deliver.

Persons who think they have been cheated by a U.S. company or consultant 
in connection with the Diversity Visa Lottery may wish to contact their 
local consumer affairs office or the National Fraud Information Center 
at 1-800-876-7060 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (EST), Monday through 
Friday or (202) 835-0159; Internet address: http://www/fraud.org.  The 
U.S. Department of State has no authority to investigate complaints 
against businesses.  


How will winners be notified?

Only successful registrants will be notified by mail at the address 
listed on their entry.  The notifications will be sent to the winners 
during the summer of 1997, along with instructions on how to apply for 
an immigrant visa, including a new requirement for a special DV case 
processing fee payable by only those individuals whose applications are 
selected and processed for DV-98 visas.  Applicants must meet all 
eligibility requirements under U.S. law to be issued a visa.

Being selected as a winner in the DV Lottery does not automatically 
guarantee being issued a visa because the number of applicants selected 
is greater than the number of immigrant visas available.  Those selected 
will therefore need to act on their immigrant visa applications quickly.  
Once the total 55,000 visas have been issued, the DV Program for fiscal 
year 1998 will end.


Where can one receive instructions to enter the lottery?

Information on entering the DV-98 program is available 24 hours a day 
only by calling the Department of State's Visa Lottery Information 
Center at 1-900-884-8840 at a flat rate of $5.10 per call.  Callers will 
first hear some basic information about the lottery and then will be 
requested to provide their name and address so that printed instructions 
can be mailed to them.  Applicants overseas will continue to contact the 
nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for instructions on the DV lottery.
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