Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida


Green Card Lottery Application Period is Now Open

By Dilip Patel

Dilip Patel


Over the years, we have assisted many people attain their American Dream through the Green Card Lottery. This article will be of use to our readers or friends of readers born in countries other than India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the United Kingdom. We know that many members of our community were born in Africa and other parts of the world – for them, the Green Card Lottery can be of great interest. The official name is the fiscal year 2024 U.S. Diversity Visa Lottery.

What is the Diversity Visa Lottery?
The Diversity Immigrant Visa program — a.k.a. the green card lottery — is a government lottery program for obtaining U.S. Permanent Residence (green card). The program makes 50,000 visas available every year to applicants from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States and with specific education qualifications. It provides an inexpensive and relatively simple path to a green card, without needing sponsorship from a U.S. employer or family.

Who Can Apply?
To be eligible for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, you or your spouse must have been born in a country that sent less than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the previous five years. The Department of State publishes a full list of the eligible countries on their website.

List of Countries of Birth Not Eligible
For the 2024 program, the following countries are not eligible to apply due to high rates of immigration to the United States:
Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China including Hong Kong SAR (Natives of Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Republic of Korea (South Korea), United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, Venezuela and Vietnam

NOTE: If your country of birth is not eligible but your spouse as born in an eligible country, you can each submit an application.

In addition to the nationality requirements, applicants must possess at least a high school diploma or its equivalent; or two years of work experience in an occupation that requires at least two years of training or experience. DOS publishes a list of occupations that are eligible on their website.

If you are eligible, you can apply whether you are currently in the U.S. or abroad. This includes those who are waiting to obtain a green card through the labor certification program (if born in an eligible country).

When Can I Apply?
The entry submission period for the FY2024 Diversity Immigrant Visa program is ongoing through Nov. 8, 2022. The entry form will only be available for submission during this period. In years past, the last week of the registration period saw heavy demand on DOS’s application website, causing website delays. Therefore, submitting your application as early as possible is encouraged.

How Do I Apply?
Entries must be submitted online through DOS’s website. Paper entries are not accepted. Online applications are free, but visa processing fees may apply if selected. DOS releases detailed instructions on their website, which can be found here: DV-2024-Instructions.pdf

Call for Immigration Relief for Students and others in U.S. from Pakistan
The devastating flooding left one-third of Pakistan underwater, affecting 30 million people and leaving 6.4 million people in need of immediate support. Recent data showed that there are almost 10,000 F-1 students from Pakistan. Numerous organizations are now lobbying the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) to individuals from Pakistan and are also asking DHS-SEVP to grant Special Student Relief (SSR) to F-1 students from Pakistan.

TPS and DED are crucial tools the Biden administration has at its disposal to safeguard vulnerable people in the United States when safe return to their home countries is impossible. Crucially, Congress gave the power to designate TPS to the U.S. Department of Homeland

 Security (as opposed to a determination by Congress) so administrations can work quickly to put protection in place at the onset of life-threatening conditions due to conflict, environmental disaster, or other extraordinary conditions. Regulations allow DHS to suspend or alter rules regarding duration of status, full course of study, and employment eligibility, for specific groups of students from parts of the world that are experiencing emergent circumstances. This collection of benefits is known as "special student relief." It remains to be seen if DHS takes any action.

Dilip Patel of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, a board-certified expert on immigration law, can be reached at (813) 222-1120 or email [email protected]

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