Kurzban Kurzban Tetzeli and Pratt P.A.

Examining the government's Diversity Immigration Visa Program

Miami residents may be interested in a program that allows certain categories of immigrants to apply for permanent residency. The random selection process, however, is just the beginning for those who have been chosen.

The U.S. Department of State operates a program called the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program that allows up to 50,000 immigration visas each year. The selection of these 50,000 immigrants is done through a lottery that randomly chooses among applicants from countries with low immigration numbers in order to increase diversity.

Generally, the winners of this lottery are living outside of the United States. However, when an applicant already located inside the USA is chosen, they may be able to switch their residency status to reflect their selection. In order to do so, they must meet three requirements: They have been selected by the diversity lottery, they are admissible to the country, and there is a visa available for citizens of their country. Information about this last requirement can be found on the Department of State's Visa Bulletin, which lists when the various cutoffs are met for different immigration categories.

The prospective immigrant must also fill out the proper form, Form I-485, to apply for a permanent resident card. This must be done before Sept. 30 of the same fiscal year that the immigrant was chosen in the diversity lottery.

Navigating the complex immigration process can be difficult without the assistance of an attorney. Forms must be filed correctly and by certain deadlines in order for a person to be eligible. An attorney may be able to assist with filing for U.S. permanent residency or other immigration issues. An attorney may also be able to represent an immigrant at a deportation hearing or other appearance.

Source: US CIS, "Green Card Through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program", January 05, 2015

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