Instructions for the 2000 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (DV-2000) have just been released by the U.S. State Department. Based on an edited version of the State Department’s instructions, here’s how Irish applicants should apply.
The U.S. diversity immigration program makes available 50,000 permanent residence visas each year to persons meeting the eligibility requirements. Applicants for diversity visas are initially chosen through a random computer-generated lottery drawing.
Visas are apportioned among six geographic regions with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration, and no visas going to countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the last five years. No one country can receive more than 3,500 diversity visas in any one year. Applicants from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are eligible to apply. The two areas are treated separately and each has a 3,500-visa limit.
Entries for the lottery must be received between noon on Thursday, Oct. 1, 1998 and noon on Saturday, October 31, 1998. Entries received before or after these dates will be disqualified regardless of when they are postmarked. Also, entries sent to an incorrect address will be disqualified.
To enter, an applicant must be able to claim nativity in an eligible country and must meet either the education or training requirement of the DV program. Nativity in most cases is determined by the applicant’s place of birth. However, if a person was born in an ineligible country but his/her spouse was born in an eligible country, such person can claim the spouse’s country of birth rather than his/her own. Also, if a person was born in an ineligible country, but neither of his/her parents was born there or resided there at the time of the birth, such person may be able to claim nativity in one of the parents’ country of birth.
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It must be noted that all parts of the United Kingdom with the exception of Northern Ireland are excluded from the visa lottery. However, a native of England, Scotland or Wales is eligible if a spouse was born in Northern Ireland or the Republic.
Education or training
To enter, an applicant must have either a high school education or its equivalent, defined in the U.S. as successful completion of a 12-year course of elementary and secondary education or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform. U.S. Department of Labor definitions will apply. If a person does not meet these requirements, he/she should not apply for a visa.
1. Entry-form procedures
Only one entry form may be submitted by or for each applicant during the registration period. Submission of more than one entry will disqualify the person. The applicant must personally sign the entry, preferably in his/her native alphabet. Failure of the applicant to personally sign his/her own entry will result in disqualification.
2. Completing the form
There is no specific format for the entry. Simply use a plain sheet of paper and type or clearly print in the English alphabet (preferably in the following order):
€ Full name, with the last (surname/family) name underlined.
€ Date and place of birth
Date: Day, Month, Year; example: 15 November 1961
Place: City/Town, District/County/Province, Country; example: Castlebar, Co. Mayo, Ireland or Newry, Co. Down, Northern Ireland.
3. If applicant’s native country is
different from country of birth
If the applicant is claiming nativity in a country other than his/her place of birth, this must be clearly indicated on the entry. This information must match with what is put on the upper-left corner of the entry envelope. If an applicant is claiming nativity through spouse or parent, please indicate this on the entry. (See "Requirements" section).
4. Name, date and place of birth of the
applicant’s spouse and children (if any)
5. Full mailing address
This must be clear and complete, as any communications will be sent there. A telephone number is optional, but useful.
Attach a recent, preferably less than 6 months old, photograph of the applicant, 1.5 inches (37 mm) square in size, with the applicant’s name printed on the back. The photograph (not a photocopy) should be attached to the entry with clear tape. Do not use staples or paper clips, which can jam the mail processing equipment.
Failure to personally sign the entry will disqualify the applicant.
€ All the above information must appear on the entry. Failure to provide all of this information will disqualify the applicant.
Mailing the entry
Submit the entry by regular or air mail to the address matching the region of the applicant’s country of nativity. Entries sent by express or priority mail, fax, hand, messenger, or any means requiring receipts or special handling will not be processed.
The envelope must be between 6 and 10 inches (15 to 25 cm) long and 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 inches (9 to 11 cm) wide. Postcards are not acceptable, nor are envelopes inside express or oversized mail packets. In the upper-left-hand corner of the envelope the applicant must show his/her country of nativity (see instruction 3 above), followed by the applicant’s name and full return address. The applicant must provide both the country of birth and the country of the address, even if both are the same. Failure to provide this information will disqualify the entry. The mailing address for all entries is the same, except for the zip/postal code. The address is:
National Visa Center
Portsmouth, NH 00212
Use the correct zip/postal code for the applicant’s region of nativity. For Europe and including Ireland and Northern Ireland the zip code is 00212.
Example: An applicant who was born in Ireland and now lives in Australia may submit one entry to the appropriate zip/postal code for Europe; the envelope should look like this:
Applicant’s Full Name
City, Province, Postal Code
National Visa Center
Portsmouth, NH (appropriate zip)
€ If the country of birth and residence are both Ireland/Northern Ireland, this should be duly reflected on the top-left-hand corner. Address on the application form and envelope should be the same.
Registrants will be selected at random by computer from among all qualified entries. Those selected will be notified by mail during April to July 1999 and will be provided further instructions, including information on fees connected with immigration to the U.S. Persons not selected will not be notified. U.S. embassies and consulates will not be able to provide a list of successful applicants. Spouses and unmarried children of successful applicants under age 21 may also apply for visas to accompany or follow to join the principal applicant. DV-2000 visas will be issued between October 1, 1999 and September 30, 2000.
Applicants must meet all eligibility requirements under U.S. law in order to be issued visas. Processing of applications and issuance of diversity visas to successful applicants and their eligible family members must occur by September 30, 2000. Family members may not obtain diversity visas to follow to join the applicant in the U.S. after this date.
€ Important Notice: There is no initial fee, other than postage, required to enter the DV-2000 program. The use of an outside intermediary or assistance to prepare a DV-2000 entry is entirely at the applicant’s discretion. Qualified entries received directly from applicants or through intermediaries have equal chances of being selected by computer. There is no advantage to mailing early, or mailing from any particular locale. Every application received during the mail-in period will have an equal random chance of being selected within its region. However, more than one application per person will disqualify the person from registration.
Any questions? You can call your nearest Irish consulate or Irish immigration advice center.