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Trump promised to end it, but the visa lottery will still raffle off 50,000 green cards

2 Oct

Despite President Donald Trump’s promises to eliminate the diversity visa lottery, thousands of people from around the world will still have the chance to legally immigrate to the United States and achieve the American Dream through the program.

The U.S. State Department, which administers the Diversity Immigrant Visa program, better known as the visa lottery, announced Tuesday that it will go ahead with the lottery for 50,000 visas available for Fiscal Year 2020. The winners will be drawn from random selection.

The lottery is one of the most popular visa programs for foreigners who lack sponsors in the United States and want to immigrate here legally. But President Trump has assailed the program, saying that the “worst of the worst” are selected in the cost-free process.

Applicants must meet simple but strict eligibility requirements to qualify, according to the State Department, which distributes the green cards among six geographical regions.

Online registration for the 2020 program begins on Oct. 3 and concludes on Nov. 6. No single country can receive more than 7 percent of the visas.

Authorities noted that people who submit more than one application for this period will be automatically disqualified. They also warned of fraudulent websites posing as providers of official information asking for money to “winners of the lottery.”

Foreigners from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the U.S. can sign up at when the period opens, and complete the entry form for free. They should do this early in the registration period, authorities said, because excessive demand later will slow the system down.

Applicants for the 2020 visa lottery must meet two requirements to participate:

  • First, they must be born in qualifying countries. The countries not eligible this period are: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland), and Vietnam.
  • They also must have at least a high school diploma or its equivalent, or two years’ work experience over the past five years in an eligible field that requires at least two years of training.

Established 30 years ago to boost immigration to the United States, the program had been on uncertain ground for the past year since Trump announced that he would ask Congress to eliminate it. The visa lottery has endured increased scrutiny from lawmakers.

The diversity lottery “sounds nice, it is not nice, it is not good. It hasn’t been good and we have been against it,” Trump said in November.

Although most of the lottery winners reside outside the United States, some are already living here with non-immigrant or other legal status, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, the agency that processes adjustment of status applications for this last group.

The names of the winners of the DV-2020 lottery will be published on the State Department’s web page between May 7, 2019, and Sept. 30, 2020. To learn how to verify the results, follow these instructions in Spanish.

All selected applicants must undergo background checks, medical tests and will be called to visa interviews with U.S. consular or immigration officers, where they have to present documentary proof of education or work experience.

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