About the Author: Ivna Giauque serves as a Public Affairs Officer in the Bureau of Consular Affairs.
About three dozen officials from the Bureau of Consular Affairs gathered in a State Department conference room on October 5 to witness receipt of the first electronic Diversity Visa Lottery applications. When the clock struck noon, the group broke into applause as a photo of an Australian woman popped onto wall-mounted screens and marked the official opening of this year's 2012 Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery registration period. Above, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, Michael D. Kirby (right) and Director of Enterprise Systems Haar Sandhu watch as the applications come in. The same screens that displayed photos of applicants showed a tally of the number of applications by country and another dashboard-like display measured the speed of submissions. The smooth start-up reflected weeks of work by staff in the Bureau's Computer Systems and Technology Division.
The Congressionally mandated DV Program makes 50,000 diversity visas available annually to persons who meet strict eligibility requirements from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Selected applicants are drawn randomly.
At the opening of last year's registration period, more than 3,500 applications came in the first hour alone. This year just over 5,400 applications arrived within the registration's first hour. Last year's 60-day registration period ended with over 16 million applications. This year registration will run 30 days.
The Department of State first implemented the electronic registration system with DV-2005 in order to make the DV process more efficient and secure. The Department utilizes special technology and other means to identify those who attempt to commit fraud for the purposes of illegal immigration or those who submit multiple entries.
While electronic registration has been in place for a number of years, this is the first year that the entire process is electronic, including the notification of selected applicants and the scheduling of their visa interviews. Applicants can go on-line at any time after May 1, 2011, to check the status of their registration.
Entries for the lottery may be submitted electronically through 12:00 p.m. EDT Wednesday, November 3, 2010.
A special briefing about the DV program at the Foreign Press Center can be viewed here.
For more information about the DV program, please click here.
For DV program instructions, please click here.
To submit an entry form, go to: www.dvlottery.state.gov.