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U.S. Department of StateDiversity Visa Program Registration Turns Electronic   Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
August 18, 2003

Diversity Visa Program Registration Turns Electronic

The Department of State announced in today’s Federal Register a change in how applicants may petition to participate in the Diversity Visa lottery program. Starting this year, all persons registering for an opportunity to apply for a U.S. immigrant visa under the diversity lottery will have to do so electronically through a designated Internet website. The Department will no longer accept paper entries or mail-in requests for diversity visa registration.

The Department of State is implementing the new electronic system in order to improve efficiency in the diversity visa petition process and make the process less prone to fraud, thus making it less vulnerable to use by persons who may pose a threat to the security interests of the United States.

The Diversity Visa Program is administered by the Department of State. Applicants from eligible countries, as determined by the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, petition the Department of State for the opportunity to apply for one of 55,000 immigrant visa made available annually. Only those selected at random and notified by the Department of State will then be eligible to apply for an immigrant visa. Each year, approximately 6 million people worldwide register to participate in the program. Previously, all registrations were submitted by mail. Starting this year, only electronic submissions will be accepted.

Persons submitting a request for entry in the diversity visa lottery will use a specially designated website which will have a standard petition form that will be filled out and sent electronically. They will also be required to include digital photographs.

Further details with complete instructions will be provided when dates have been selected for the submission of petitions.

Released on August 18, 2003