EIIC announces dates for Public Immigration Information sessions for the community at Bronx and Queens offices and continues to offer free assistance with green card lottery applications and general consultations
The annual diversity visa lottery registration and application period opens once again on October 4th through noon on November 7th for those who are eligible to apply for a green card to reside permanently in the United States. Applications will only be accepted online via the U.S. Department of State official website at www.dvlottery.state.gov.
In recent years there has been an increase in online scams promising green cards or quicker service for a fee. EIIC’s Immigration Attorney and Director of Immigration Legal Services, John A. Stahl, Esq., urged those interested in applying to note, “There is no fee to apply and there is only one official website to register.” He advises individuals to ignore any email offers to help complete or expedite the application process.
Please call either of our offices if you need assistance with your application. Alternatively, if you have questions about any immigration matter, please note the dates and places of our upcoming public meetings from 6pm to 8pm:
- October 25, 2016, Queens, EIIC Office, 59-26 Woodside Ave, 2nd Floor, Woodside, NY
- October 27, 2016, Bronx, EIIC Office, 4275 Katonah Ave, Woodlawn, NY
The immigration legal services staff at the Center is once again appealing to potential applicants to apply early this year, cautioning that the official DV Lottery website can get frozen closer to the deadline of noon on Monday, November 7th. Regretfully, we will be unable to accommodate last minute walk-ins during the final week of the DV Lottery registration period.
If you are a member of a local group or organization and would like our staff to speak to your group on the DV Lottery in October or on any immigration topic at a future meeting, please contact John A. Stahl, Esq., Director of Immigration Legal Services and Immigration Attorney at 718-478-5502, extension 201.
Check our website for additional information and upcoming public meeting dates at www.eiic.org
EIIC Immigration legal services staff has helped many apply who are currently in the United States on the visa waiver program or on a temporary work visa and are still in status. “The green card lottery is a yearly opportunity for qualified applicants who are legally in the United States or overseas to attain permanent resident status here with no strings attached”, according to EIIC’s Immigration Legal Services Director, John A. Stahl.
Each year, 50,000 green cards are made available through a lottery system to individuals who come from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. The State Department’s Kentucky Consular Center holds the annual lottery and chooses winners randomly from about 8-10 million qualified entries. About 100,000 entries are selected and given the opportunity to apply for permanent residence. If permanent residence is granted, then the individual, their spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 will be authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. “The DV Lottery is one of the few ways that exist to apply for a green card. Despite the low allocation of green cards to Ireland, it is worth the effort, if you really do want a long term option to stay legally in America,” stated Siobhan Dennehy, EIIC’s Executive Director. “I equate the odds to playing the New York State Lottery as there are over 8 million applications from all over the world annually. Although you apply for the green card in 2016, you will not be notified about your application until 2017 and you won’t actually receive the green card itself until 2018, that’s why they call it the 2018 DV Lottery, which can be confusing.”
Only natives of certain countries are eligible to apply for the green card lottery. Those born in the following countries are NOT eligible to apply for the DV-2018 lottery because a total of more than 50,000 immigrants came from these countries to the U.S. in the previous five years: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom and its dependent territories (except Northern Ireland) and Vietnam. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible. An applicant may, however, claim the country of birth of their spouse, if eligible, or of either parent if they were born in a country of which neither of their parents was a native or a resident at the time of their birth.
All applicants also must have a high school diploma or the equivalent, defined in the United States as the successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education or they must have two years of work experience within the last five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience to perform. Entries for the DV-2018 diversity visa lottery must be submitted electronically from noon on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 through noon on Monday, November 7, 2016. Applicants may access the electronic diversity visa entry form at www.dvlottery.state.gov only during the 30-day registration period beginning October 4th. Paper entries will not be accepted. All entries by an applicant will be disqualified if more than one entry for the applicant is received, regardless of who submitted the entry. Applicants may prepare and submit their own entries, or have someone submit the entry for them. The Department of State will issue DV lottery entrants an electronic confirmation number and notice upon receipt of a correctly completed Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form.
Applicants must also attach separate digital photographs of themselves, their spouses and unmarried children less than 21 years of age (except children who are already permanent residents or U.S. citizens). The photographs must be in the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) format and meet specific resolutions (minimum 600 pixels high by 600 pixels wide), color depths (24-bit color) and kilobytes (maximum 240 KB) requirements. If a photograph print is scanned, the print must be two inches square and be scanned at a resolution of 300 dots per inch (dpi) and with specific color depths. The photograph must be taken within the last six months and no glasses may be worn in the photo. If the digital image does not conform to the specifications, the application will be automatically disqualified.
Applicants will be selected at random by computer from among all qualified entries. All applicants will be required to go back to the website to find out whether their entry has been selected in the DV-2018 lottery or to find out they have not been selected. Selectees will only be notified of their selection through the “entry status check” available starting May 2, 2017 at the website www.dvlottery.state.gov. The online entry status check will be the only means by which selectees will be notified of their selection for DV-2018. The Kentucky Consular Center will not be mailing out notification letters. Those selected in the random drawing are not notified of their selection by e-mail. Those individuals not selected will be notified of their non-selection through the web-based “entry status check.”
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 submissions 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.
The current immigration laws carry heavy penalties for visa overstays. Those who have overstayed their visa by 6 months, face a 3 year bar upon their departure from the United States, if they have overstayed for one year or more, they are subject to a 10 year bar. Successful lottery applicants who are undocumented in the US must be processed for a visa at a US Consulate abroad under existing immigration laws. Departing the US will trigger the 3 or 10 year bars making them ineligible for a visa. Undocumented lottery winners with a relative petition or an employer labor certification pending before April 30, 2001, may be eligible to be interviewed in the United States under Section 245(i), provided they have not triggered the 3/10 year bars by leaving the US.
Inquiries may be made to the EIIC at their Woodside, Queens’s office at (718) 478-5502 or at their Woodlawn, Bronx office at (718) 324-3039 or on the EIIC website www.eiic.org.
The EIIC is a member of the Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers, for further information about Irish centers in the US providing free assistance with DV lottery applications please refer to their website at www.ciic.usa-org