Getting an opportunity to live in the United States is a dream for many people. This dream has a chance of coming true thanks to the diversity immigrant visa program (DV program). The program is a simple way to get a shot at becoming a citizen of one of the most developed countries in the world.
However, getting into the program may be tricky.New York immigration attorneys shed some light on this matter.What Is The Goal Of The Diversity Immigration Visa Program?
The program was established in 1990. Its main goal is to keep the melting pot in the United States intact. In other words, the program needs to uphold the immigration diversity by attracting people from the countries underrepresented in the US.
Today’s US immigration system encourages family reunification, i.e. the current US residents are inviting their family members to join them. This keeps the diversity low. The DV program was created to balance this tendency out.
The program also gives people who don’t have any relatives in the USA a chance to get a legal status in the country without achieving anything extraordinary.How Does A Diversity Visa Work?
Initially, the number of diversity visas was set at 55,000 per fiscal year. In 2000, the number was reduced to 50,000. The cap seemed to be temporary, but it’s still in place and is expected to last at least until 2019.
Each native of the eligible countries has a chance to obtain one of the 50,000 diversity visasevery year. Another name for the program is diversity lottery or American visa lottery. People are randomly chosen for an opportunity to apply for the diversity visa. Over 13 million people apply for the program each year.Who Can Get A Diversity Visa?
People who are natives of a country with fewer than 50,000 citizens admitted to the US in the past 5 years, can enter the lottery. If a large number of immigrants comes to the United States on a regular basis, natives of such countries aren’t eligible. For example, Mexico and China citizens don’t get a shot at the diversity visa.
Every year, the representatives of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services calculate the number of diversity visas which can be issued for each of the six geographical regions (Europe, Africa, Oceania, Asia, North America, Central American, Asia, and Caribbean). The complicated calculations use immigration stats and specific formulas. None of the eligible countries can receive more than 7% of the annual visa allowance.
If the country is eligible for the diversity visa offering, in order to get a shot at acquiring one, a native must:
- Be admissible to the USA under INA (Immigrant and Nationality Act),
- Have a high school education (or its equivalent), or
- Have two years of recent work experience (within the past five years)
If a person wasn’t born in one of the eligible countries, he or she can still apply for the program in case:
- His or her spouse is born in one of the eligible countries
- He or she was born in the ineligible country while parents weren’t its legal residents at the time of birth.
In order to participate in the program, the applicant must submit the application within a short time-frame allotted each year. Duplicate applications are prohibited and lead to disqualification.Recent Developments
Initially, the DV program was created to attract Irish and Italian immigrants. Over the past 28 years, a big number of immigrants from those two countries have come to the USA. However, in the recent years the majority of DV program winners come from Africa and Eastern Europe.
While the United States government is not planning to close the cap before the end of 2019, president Trump has expressed his discontent with the program several times. The latest controversy arose in 2017, after a terrorist attack by an Uzbekistan immigrant. Donald Trump claimedthat the criminal came to the country through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program.