1. WHAT DOES THE TERM "NATIVE" MEAN? ARE THERE ANY SITUATIONS IN WHICH PERSONS WHO WERE NOT BORN IN A QUALIFYING COUNTRY MAY APPLY?
"Native" ordinarily means someone bornin a particular country, regardless of the individual's current country of residence or nationality.
"Native" also means someone entitled to be "charged" to a particular country under the provisions of Section 202(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Applicants for DV-2003 registration may claim chargeability to the country of birth of a spouse providing both the applicant and spouse are issued visas and enter the U.S. simultaneously. A minor dependent child can be charged to the country of birth of a parent; and an applicant born in a country of which neither parent was a native or a resident at the time of his/her birth may be charged to the country of birth of either parent. An applicant who claims alternate chargeability must include information to that effect on the application for registration (See number 3 of the application information items under THE ENTRY.), and must show the native country claimed on the upper left hand corner of the envelope in which the registration request is mailed.
2. ARE THERE ANY CHANGES OR NEW REQUIREMENTS IN THE APPLICATION PROCEDURES FOR THIS DIVERSITY VISA REGISTRATION?
The address for submitting DV applications has changed. Applicants must mail their entries to one of the six Kentucky Consular Center regional addresses listed in MAILING THE ENTRY. Entries mailed to any other address will be disqualified. The information required on the entry and on the envelope in which it is sent is specified in detail above. Each entry must be personally signed by the applicant. Photographs of the applicant and all his/her dependents are now required, and the photos must conform to the specifications listed under THE ENTRY. Qualifying work experience will no longer be defined by the Department of Labor’s Dictionary of Occupational Titles, but rather by the more current information contained in the Department of Labor’s O*Net OnLine database. Please also note changes to the list of eligible DV countries.
3. ARE SIGNATURES AND PHOTOGRAPHS REQUIRED FOR EACH FAMILY MEMBER, OR ONLY FOR THE PRINCIPAL APPLICANT?
Only the principal applicant is required to personally sign the entry. Recent and individual photos of the applicant, his/her spouse and all children are required. Family or group photos are not accepted. Check the information on the signature and photo requirements.
4. WHY DO CERTAIN COUNTRIES NOT QUALIFY FOR THE DIVERSITY PROGRAM?
Diversity visas are intended to provide an immigration opportunity for persons from countries other than the countries which send large numbers of immigrants to the U.S. The law states that no diversity visas shall be provided for "high admission" countries. These countries are those from which a total of 50,000 persons in the Family-Sponsored and Employment-Based visa categories immigrated to the United States during the previous five years. Each year, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) adds the family and employment immigrant admission figures for the previous five years in order to identify the countries that must be excluded from the annual diversity lottery. Because there is a separate determination made before each annual DV entry period, the list of countries that do not qualify may change from one year to the next.
5. WHAT IS THE NUMERICAL LIMIT FOR DV-2003?
By law, the U.S. diversity immigration program makes available a maximum of 55,000 permanent residence visas each year to eligible persons. However, the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NCARA) passed by Congress in November 1997 stipulates that beginning as early as DV-99, and for as long as necessary, 5,000 of the 55,000 annually-allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NCARA program. The actual reduction of the limit to 50,000 began with DV-2000 and remains in effect for the DV-2003 program.
6. WHAT ARE THE REGIONAL DIVERSITY VISA (DV) LIMITS FOR DV-2003?
The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) determines the DV regional limits for each year according to a formula specified in Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Once the INS has completed the calculations, the DV-2003 regional visa limits will be announced.
7. WHEN ARE ENTRIES FOR THE DV PROGRAM ACCEPTED EACH YEAR?
The month-long DV entry period begins each fall at noon on the first Monday in October and lasts for 30 days.Each year millions apply for the program during the mail-in registration period. The massive volume of entries creates an enormous amount of work in selecting and processing successful applicants. Holding the entry period in the fall will ensure successful applicants are notified in a more timely manner, and give both them and our embassies and consulates overseas more time to prepare and complete the entries for visa issuance.
8. MAY PERSONS WHO ARE IN THE U.S.APPLY FOR THE PROGRAM?
Yes, an applicant may be in the U.S. or in another country, and the entry may be mailed from the U.S. or from abroad.
9. IS EACH APPLICANT LIMITED TO ONLY ONE ENTRY DURING THIS DV-2003 REGISTRATION PERIOD?
Yes, the law allows only one entry by or for each person during each registration period; applicants for whom more than one entry is submitted will be disqualified. Applicants may be disqualified at time of selection as a winner, or at the time of the visa interview or at any time during the process if more than one entry is detected. However, applicants may apply for the program each year during the regular one-month registration period.
10. MAY A HUSBAND AND A WIFE EACH SUBMIT A SEPARATE ENTRY?
Yes, a husband and a wife may each submit one entry. If either is selected, the other would be entitled to derivative status. Note: Husbands and wives may not sign for each other. Each applicant must sign his or her own entry.
11. WHAT FAMILY MEMBERS MUST I INCLUDE ON MY ENTRY FOR DV-2003?
On your entry you must list your spouse, that is husband or wife, and all unmarried children under 21 years of age. You must list your spouse even if you are currently separated from him/her. However, if you are legally divorced, you do not need to list your former spouse. For customary marriages, the important date is the date of the original marriage ceremony, not the date on which the marriage is registered. You must list ALL your children who are unmarried and under the age of 21 years, whether they are your natural children, your spouse’s children by a previous marriage, or children you have formally adopted in accordance with the laws of your country. List all children even if they no longer reside with you.
The fact that you have listed family members on your entry does not mean that they later must travel with you. They may choose to remain behind. However, if you include an eligible dependent on your visa application forms whom you failed to include on your original entry, your case will be disqualified. (This only applies to persons who were dependents at the time the original application was submitted, not those acquired at a later date.) Your spouse may still submit a separate entry, even though he or she is listed on your entry, as long as both entries include details on all dependents in your family. See question 10 above.
12. MUST EACH APPLICANT SUBMIT HIS/HER OWN ENTRY, OR MAY SOMEONE ACT ON BEHALF OF AN APPLICANT?
Applicants may prepare and submit their own entries, or have someone submit the entry for them. Regardless of whether an entry is submitted by the applicant directly, or assistance is provided by an attorney, friend, relative, etc., only one entry may be submitted in the name of each person. The applicant's original signature is required on the entry, regardless whether it is prepared and submitted by the applicant or by someone else. If the applicant does not personally sign the entry with his or her usual and customary signature, the entry will be disqualified. If the entry is selected, the notification letter will be sent only to the mailing address provided on the entry.
13. WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR EDUCATION OR WORK EXPERIENCE?
The law and regulations require that every applicant must have at least a high school education or its equivalent or, within the past five years, have two years of work experience in an occupation requiring at least two years training or experience. A "high school education or equivalent" is defined as successful completion of a twelve-year course of elementary and secondary education in the United States or successful completion in another country of a formal course of elementary and secondary education comparable to a high school education in the United States. Documentary proof of education or work experience should not be submitted with the lottery entry, but must be presented to the consular officer at the time of the visa interview.
14. HOW WILL WINNERS BE SELECTED?
At the Kentucky Consular Center, all mail received at each of the six geographic regional addresses will be individually numbered. After the end of the application period, a computer will randomly select entries from among all the mail received for each geographic region. Within each region, the first letter randomly selected will be the first case registered, the second letter selected the second registration, etc. It makes no difference whether an entry is received early or late in the application period; all entries received during the mail-in period will have an equal chance of being selected within each region. When an entry has been selected, the applicant will be sent a notification letter by the Kentucky Consular Center, which will provide visa application instructions. The Kentucky Consular Center will continue to process the case until those who are selected are instructed to appear for visa interviews at a U.S. consular office, or until those able to do so apply at an INS office in the United States for change of status.
15. MAY WINNING APPLICANTS ADJUST THEIR STATUS WITH THE INS?
Yes, provided they are otherwise eligible to adjust status under the terms of Section 245 of the INA, selected applicants who are physically present in the United States may apply to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for adjustment of status to permanent resident. Applicants must ensure that INS can COMPLETE ACTION on their cases, including processing of any overseas derivatives, before September 30, 2003, since on that date registrations for the DV-2003 program expire. No visa numbers for the DV-2003 program will be available after midnight on September 30, 2003 under any circumstances.
16. WILL APPLICANTS WHO ARE NOT ELECTED BE INFORMED?
No, applicants who are not selected will receive no response to their entry. Only those who are selected will be informed. All notification letters are sent within about nine months of the end of the application period to the address indicated on the entry. Anyone who does NOT receive a letter will know that his/her application has not been selected.
17. HOW MANY APPLICANTS WILL BE SELECTED?
There are 50,000 DV visas available for DV-2003, but more than that number of individuals will be selected. Because it is likely that some of the first 50,000 persons who are selected will not pursue their cases to visa issuance, more than 50,000 entries will be selected by the Kentucky Consular Center to ensure that all of the available DV-2003 visas are issued. However, this also means that there will not be a sufficient number of visas for all those who are initially selected. All applicants who are selected will be informed promptly of their place on the list. Interviews with those selected will begin in early October 2003. The Kentucky Consular Center will send appointment letters to selected applicants 30-60 days before the scheduled interviews with U.S. consular officers at overseas posts. Each month visas will be issued, visa number availability permitting, to those applicants who are ready for issuance during that month. Once all of the 50,000 DV-2003 visas have been issued, the program for the year will end. In principle, visa numbers could be finished before September 2003. Selected applicants who wish to receive visas must be prepared to act promptly on their cases. Random selection by the Kentucky Consular Center computer does not automatically guarantee that you will receive a visa.
18. IS THERE A MINIMUM AGE FOR APPLICANTS TO APPLY FOR THE DV-2003 PROGRAM?
There is no minimum age to apply for the program, but the requirement of a high school education or work experience for each principal applicant at the time of application will effectively disqualify most persons who are under age 18.
19. WILL THERE BE ANY SPECIAL FEE FOR DV-2003 CASE PROCESSING?
There is no fee for submitting an entry, and no feeshould be included with the entry sent to the mailing addresses indicated above. A special DV case processing fee will be payable later by persons whose entries are actually selected and processed at a U.S. consular section for DV-2003 visas. DV-2003 applicants, like other immigrant visa applicants, must also pay the regular visa fees at the time of visa issuance. Details of required fees will be included with the instructions sent by the Kentucky Consular Center to applicants who are selected.
20. ARE DV-2003 APPLICANTS SPECIALLY ENTITLED TO APPLY FOR A WAIVER OF ANY OF THE GROUNDS OF VISA INELIGIBILITY?
No. Applicants are subject to all grounds of ineligibility for immigrant visas specified in the Immigration and Nationality Act. There are no special provisions for the waiver of any ground of visa ineligibility other than those ordinarily provided in the Act.
21. MAY PERSONS WHO ARE ALREADY REGISTERED FOR AN IMMIGRANT VISA IN ANOTHER CATEGORY APPLY FOR THE DV-2003 PROGRAM?
Yes, such persons may apply for the DV-2003 program.
22. HOW LONG DO APPLICANTS WHO ARE SELECTED REMAIN ENTITLED TO APPLY FOR VISAS IN THE DV-2002 CATEGORY?
Persons selected in the DV-2003 lottery are entitled to apply for visa issuance only during fiscal year 2003, i.e., from October 2002 through September 2003. Applicants must obtain the DV visa or adjust status by the end of the Fiscal Year (September 30, 2003).There is no carry-over of DV benefits into the next year for persons who are selected but who do not obtain visas during FY-2003. Also, spouses and children who derive status from a DV-2003 registration can only obtain visas in the DV category between October 2002 and September 2003. Applicants who apply overseas will receive an appointment letter from the Kentucky Consular Center 30-60 days before the scheduled appointment.
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