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Computer glitch invalidates U.S. visa lottery

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have a number of opportunities for foreign nationals to seek visas or residency in the United States. Various employment based visas, family preferences-such as fiancée visas and visas for close relatives of U. citizens-and options for families of permanent residents of the United States exist, to name a few of the programs available.

The U.S. also makes some 50,000 visas available under the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. The diversity visas are essentially awarded to applicants through a lottery system. The State Department announced Friday that a computer glitch in the Diversity Immigrant Visa lottery drawing occurred and this year's drawing will have to be redone.

More than 22,000 applicants for a diversity visa reportedly were mistakenly notified they were eligible for the next step in the visa program. Roughly 19.6 million people applied for the chance to obtain a green card through the diversity visa lottery. The registration period runs for 30 days. The State Department says the lottery drew roughly 90 percent of this year's winners from applications received in the first two days of the 30-day registration period.

The diversity visas are typically available to successful applicants who come from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. U.S permanent residency is typically obtained under the various family visa programs or through obtaining an employment based visa, with the sponsorship of an employer.

The State Department says the glitch in the computer program for the diversity visa drawing has been fixed. A re-drawing will be conducted among the 19.6 million original applicants. Results of the new drawing are expected to be available around mid-July.

Source: Reuters, "U.S. makes mistake on visa lottery, must redraw," 16 May 2011

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