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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2002 > August
Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
August 21, 2002

Diversity Immigrant Visa Program (Dv-2004)

The mail-in period for the next Diversity Visa lottery (DV-2004) will be held between noon on October 7, 2002 and noon on November 6, 2002. Those who choose to enter the DV-2004 lottery should obtain a copy of the instructions in the "Visa Bulletin," which may be found at the Bureau of Consular Affairs web site: http://travel.state.gov.

Section 203(c) of the Immigration Act of 1990 makes available up to 55,0001 permanent resident immigrant visas each year by random selection through a Diversity Visa lottery. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration, and no visas going to citizens of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the past five years. Within each region, no one country may receive more than 7% of the available Diversity Visas in any one year.

There is no specific format for the entry, but it is important to provide all the information requested. Entries for the DV-2004 Diversity Visa Lottery must be received at one of the Kentucky Consular Center mailing addresses during the mail-in period. Entries sent to the wrong address or received before or after this period will be disqualified regardless of when they are postmarked. Please note several important changes in requirements and eligibility described below.


The visas will be apportioned among six geographic regions. A greater number of visas will go to those regions that have lower immigration rates and no visas may be issued to countries2 that have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States during the previous five years. No one country can receive more than seven percent of the available diversity visas in any one year.

1The Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act (NCARA) passed by Congress in November 1997 stipulates that up to 5,000 of the 55,000 annually allocated diversity visas will be made available for use under the NCARA program. The reduction of the limit of available visas to 50,000 began with DV-2000 and remains in effect for the DV-2004 program.

2The term "country" in this notices includes countries, economies and other jurisdictions explicitly listed.

Information about visa allotments for each region is determined by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) each year according to a formula specified in Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.



Persons born in "high admission" countries are, in most instances, not eligible for the program. "High admission" countries are defined as those from which the United States has received more than 50,000 immigrants during the last five years in the immediate relative, family and employment preference categories. Each year, the INS adds the family and employment immigrant admission figures for the previous five years, to identify the countries that must be excluded from the annual Diversity Lottery. Since there is a separate determination made prior to each lottery entry period, the list of countries that do not qualify is subject to change each year.

For DV-2004, the "high admission" countries are: Canada, China (mainland born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, the United Kingdom and dependent territories, and Vietnam. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, Taiwan, and Northern Ireland are eligible to apply for the DV-2004 lottery.


Consular officers will use the U.S. Department of Laborís O*Net OnLine database to assist in determining qualifying work experience. The photo requirements have also been modified slightly.
Entries mailed to any address other than the Kentucky Consular Center addresses shown below will be disqualified.




DV Program
Kentucky Consular Center
1001 Visa Crest
Migrate, KY 41901-1000, U.S.A.

DV Program
Kentucky Consular Center
2002 Visa Crest
Migrate, KY 41902-2000, U.S.A.



South America/Central America/Caribbean


DV Program
Kentucky Consular Center
3003 Visa Crest
Migrate, KY 41903-3000, U.S.A.

DV Program
Kentucky Consular Center
4004 Visa Crest
Migrate, KY 41904-4000, U.S.A.



North America:


DV Program
Kentucky Consular Center
5005 Visa Crest
Migrate, KY 41905-5000, U.S.A.

DV Program
Kentucky Consular Center
6006 Visa Crest
Migrate, KY 41906-6000, U.S.A.

The eligibility of the applicant and the information required on the entry and on the envelope in which it is sent is specified in detail in the Visa Bulletin. The applicant must personally sign each entry. Please note that photographs of the applicant and all his/her dependents are now required, and the photos must conform to the specifications listed in the Visa Bulletin. Also note that qualifying work experience will be defined by the Department of Laborís O*Net online database: http://online.onetcenter.org.


The applicant must be a native of one of the countries listed in the Visa Bulletin under "List Of Countries By Region Whose Natives Qualify." Under certain conditions, a person born in a country whose natives are ineligible for a Diversity Visa may be eligible to enter the DV lottery. Please see Visa Bulletin for the specific requirements.
In addition, applicants must have either a high school education or its equivalent, or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience. If the applicant does not meet these requirements, he or she should not submit an entry for the DV program.

There is no initial application fee or special application form to enter. The entry must be typed or clearly printed in the English alphabet on a sheet of plain paper and must include:

  • The applicant's FULL NAME, with the last name underlined.

  • The applicantís DATE AND PLACE OF BIRTH.

  • The applicant's NATIVE COUNTRY if it differs from the country of birth.

  • NAME, DATE AND PLACE OF BIRTH OF the applicantís SPOUSE AND CHILDREN, including legally-adopted and stepchildren, who are UNDER AGE 21 (all minor, unmarried children must be listed on the principal applicantís entry, even if the applicant is no longer legally married to the childís parent, and even if they do not wish to immigrate). The entry will be disqualified if all children are not listed.

  • RECENT PHOTOGRAPH OF THE APPLICANT, the applicant's SPOUSE, AND ALL CHILDREN. Entry will be disqualified if photos of all family members are not included.

  • The applicant's FULL MAILING ADDRESS and, if possible, a telephone number and e-mail address.

  • THE APPLICANTíS SIGNATURE, using his or her usual and customary signature in the native language. Any entry that is not personally signed by the applicant will be disqualified.

This information must be sent by regular mail or airmail to one of the six Migrate, Kentucky postal addresses. Entries must be received during the mail-in period for DV-2004 -- between noon on October 7, 2002 and noon on November 6, 2002. Applicants must use the correct address designated for their native region. The entry must be mailed in a standard letter or business-size envelope with the applicant's native country, full name, and complete mailing address typed or clearly printed in the English alphabet in the upper left-hand corner of the envelope. Postcards are not acceptable.

Husbands and wives may each submit an entry, if both qualify. If either were selected, the other would be entitled to derivative status. Note: Husbands and wives may not sign for each other. Each applicant must sign his or her own entry.

Only one entry for each applicant may be submitted during the registration period. Any entry sent by express or priority mail, fax, hand, messenger, or any means requiring receipts or special handling will not be processed. Duplicate or multiple entries will disqualify an individual from registration for this program. Any entry received before or after the specified registration dates REGARDLESS OF WHEN IT IS POSTMARKED and any entry sent to an address other than one of those indicated will be disqualified. All mail received during the registration period and meeting the above requirements will be individually numbered and successful entrants will be selected at random by computer regardless of time of receipt during the specified mail-in period.

Please note: Failure to carefully follow all of these instructions will disqualify the entry.


In most cases, "native" normally means someone born in a particular country, regardless of the individualís current country of residence or nationality. HOWEVER, if a person was born in a country whose natives do not qualify but his/her spouse was born in a country whose natives do qualify, such person can claim the spouseís country of birth providing both the applicant and spouse are issued visas and enter the U.S. simultaneously. A minor dependent child can be charged to the country of birth of a parent; and an applicant born in a country of which neither parent was a native nor a resident at the time of his/her birth may be charged to the country of birth of either parent. If the applicant is claiming nativity in a country other than his/her place of birth, this must be clearly indicated on the entry, and must show the native country claimed on the upper left-hand corner of the envelope in which the registration request is mailed.


The month-long application period will be held each fall beginning at noon on the first Monday in October and last for 30 days. Each year, millions of applicants apply for the program during the mail-in registration period. The massive volume of entries creates an enormous amount of work in selecting and processing successful applicants. Holding the application period in the fall ensures that successful applicants are notified in a timely manner. This also gives both them and our embassies and consulates overseas a full fiscal year (fiscal year 2004 begins on October 1, 2003 and ends on September 30, 2004) to process the necessary immigrant visas.


The decision to hire an attorney or consultant is entirely up to the applicant. Procedures for entering the Diversity Lottery can be completed without assistance following simple instructions. No fee is charged to enter the DV-2004 program. The selection of winners is made at random and no outside service can improve an applicant's chances of being chosen or guarantee an entry will win. Any service that claims it can improve an applicant's odds would be promising something it cannot deliver. Nevertheless, applicants may use outside assistance, if that is their choice. There are many legitimate attorneys and immigration consultants assisting applicants for reasonable fees, or in some cases for free. Unfortunately, there are other persons who are charging exorbitant rates and making unrealistic claims. The U.S. Government employs no outside consultants or private mail services to operate the DV program. Any intermediaries or others who offer assistance to prepare DV applicants do so without the authority or consent of the U.S. Government.

A qualified entry received directly from an applicant has an equal chance of being selected by the computer at the Kentucky Consular Center, as does an entry received through a paid intermediary who completes the entry for the applicant. There is no advantage to mailing from any particular place. Every entry received during the mail-in period will have an equal random chance of being selected within its region. However, receipt of more than ONE ENTRY PER PERSON will disqualify the person from registration, regardless of the source of that entry. In addition, the applicant must personally sign the DV entry, or the entry will be disqualified.

Persons who think they have been cheated by a U.S. company or consultant in connection with the DV Lottery may wish to contact their local consumer affairs office or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The Internet address for using the online complaint form is: http://www.FTC.gov. The FTC can also be contacted by telephone, toll free at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357) or (202) 382-4357 or TDD: (202) 326-2502. The mailing address is: Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. (The FTC telephone number is only to report fraud and not to obtain information about application procedures for the DV Lottery.)


Only successful applicants will be notified by mail by the Kentucky Consular Center at the address listed on their entry. The notifications will be sent between April and June 2003, along with instructions on how to apply for an immigrant visa. Applicants must meet all eligibility requirements under U.S. law to be issued a visa.

Being selected in the DV Lottery does not automatically guarantee being issued a visa because the number of applicants selected is greater than the number of immigrant visas available. Those selected will therefore need to act quickly on their immigrant visa applications. Applicants who are physically present in the United States may be eligible to apply to the INS for adjustment of status to permanent resident. However, such applicants must ensure that INS can complete action on their cases before September 30, 2004. Once all available visas have been issued, the DV Program for fiscal year 2004 will end. In any event, all DV-2004 visas must, by law, be issued by September 30, 2004.


DV information is available in the "Visa Bulletin" on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. Applicants overseas may contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate for instructions on the DV lottery. Applicants may also e-mail kccdv@state.gov for copies of the instructions on the DV lottery.

Released on August 21, 2002

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