The green card lottery wheel
gears up Thursday
Wednesday, October 1st 2008, 9:01 PM
The green card lottery entry period starts Thursday at noon.
You have until Dec. 2, noon Eastern Standard Time, to submit
your entry over the Internet. You may not submit a paper entry.
When you submit your entry, you'll receive an electronic
receipt. You'll need a digitized photo of yourself, plus
separate photos of your spouse and children under 21. Don't wait
until the last day to enter - government computers can get
Q. Who's eligible to enter this year's lottery?
A. Natives of all countries except Brazil, Canada, China
(mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El
Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan,
Philippines, Peru, Poland, South Korea, United Kingdom (except
Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.
Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan ARE
eligible. Note that for DV-2010, Russians are eligible.
Q. Can you explain how the green card lottery works? Entries
now, in 2008, are for the DV-2010 lottery. I'm confused.
A. Lottery winners get permanent residence during a fiscal
(record-keeping) year that begins Oct. 1 and ends the following
Sept. 30. To adequately process lottery winners, the State
Department sets the lottery entry period to begin long in
advance of when winners can first get legal residence. So the
State Department is accepting entries now for individuals who
will get permanent residence in the 2010 fiscal year that runs
from Oct. 1, 2009, to Sept. 30, 2010. The State Department will
notify winners of the DV-2010 lottery in spring 2009.
Q. If I'm here illegally, can I get a lottery green card?
A. Maybe. If you qualify to interview here (adjust status)
based on a previously filed immigration case, your being here
illegally won't keep you from getting a lottery green card. If,
however, if you must travel abroad for your permanent residence,
you may face a three- or ten-year bar to returning. The law
provides for a waiver, but you may not have enough time to get
one before your entry year ends.
Q. I won the DV-2009 Lottery. I qualify to adjust status.
When can I file my application?
A. You can apply now. The USCIS began accepting adjustment of
status applications for winners of the 2009 lottery that began
Oct. 1, 2008. DV-2009 winners in the U.S. file their adjustment
of status applications at USCIS, P.O. Box 805887, Chicago, IL
Q. If I win the lottery, does that mean that I definitely get
my green card?A. Not necessarily. Each year, the State
Department selects more DV winners than there are green cards
allotted for that year. If you win, you'll get a number
indicating your place in line based on your region. To get a
lottery green card, you must get to the front of the line before
the end of the fiscal year for which you won.
Q. Besides being from a qualifying country, what are the
other requirements for a lottery green card?
A. You must have a high school education from here or abroad.
Or you must have worked two of the last five years in a job for
which least two years' training or experience is a normal
requirement. High school equivalency diplomas do not meet this
Q. I think I qualify for a lottery green card, but I'm not
sure. Should I enter?
A. Yes. You can worry about your qualifications if you win.
Q. Should my spouse and I each file separate applications?
A. All family members who qualify should submit separate
lottery applications. If either of you win, you both can get
Q. If I'm here illegally, will I get in trouble by entering
A. I wouldn't worry about it. You need not reveal your
immigration status to enter. Some lottery entrants give the
State Department a mailing address of a friend, relative or
Q. Should I submit more than one entry?
A. The State Department says it catches people who submit
multiple entries and disqualifies them.
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