The United States will begin receiving applications for the Visa Lottery for fiscal year 2024 starting next Wednesday, October 5 at noon, as notified by the US Department of State.
People interested in applying for one of the 55,000 permanent residence cards or green cards that will be drawn have until noon on November 8 to submit their application online for free.
“Do not wait until the last week of the registration period to enter, as high demand may result in website delays,” the government agency warns.
The federal government excludes from the Visa Lottery those countries that have added more than 50,000 migrants to the United States in the last five years. For this reason, just like last year, citizens of Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico and Venezuela will not be able to participate.
Outside of Latin America, residents of Bangladesh, Canada, China (including Hong Kong), India, Jamaica, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea (South Korea), United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) as well as its dependent territories and Vietnam.
However, the agency has several exceptions. If you are not a citizen of a country with historically low rates of immigration to the United States, there are two other ways you might qualify.
The accepted forms are:
If you are the spouse of a citizen from a country with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.
If your parents were born in a country that is eligible for the 2024 Visa Lottery program.
In addition, each person applying must meet at least one of the following requirements:
• Have a secondary education or its equivalent, defined as successful completion of a 12-year course of primary and secondary formal education.
• Have two years of work experience in the last five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform.
Additionally, you must not have a criminal record.
People who qualify to apply to the Visa Lottery must fill out, in English, the electronic form DS-5501 that will be available online as of October 5, 2022.
Only one application must be submitted per individual and the agency encourages you to fill out your own form to avoid errors.
“We strongly recommend that you complete the registration form yourself, without a ‘visa adviser’, ‘visa agent’ or other person offering to help,” the statement read. “If someone helps you, they must be present when your entry is prepared so that you can provide the correct answers to the questions.”
You risk being scammed if someone else helps you apply, so the agency cautions that it’s important to save your confirmation number once you’ve submitted your information.
“Unscrupulous visa facilitators have been known to help participants with their applications, keep the printed confirmation page, and then demand more money in exchange for the confirmation number. Without this information, you will not be able to access the online system that informs you of the status of your entry,” reports the State Department.
The result of the 2024 Visa Lottery will be available after May 6, 2023 on the agency’s official website.
If you participated in the 2022 or 2023 Visa Lottery, you can check the status of your application on the official website of the program.
This story was originally published on September 29, 2022 10:39 a.m.