It is probably the hottest topic for foreigners in the world of US Immigration at the moment. Then judging by the most viewable pages here and the endless stream of comments and questions, the Green Card Lottery (aka Diversity Visa Lottery).
You can read that post to learn more about the Green Card lottery but as a quick summation, the Diversity Visa Lottery is an annual lottery run by US Government State Department allotting about 55,000 Permanent Residency visas to lucky winners around the world. Considering the process in obtaining a green card, and the scarcity, difficulty and associated cost, if you are lucky enough to win one from this lottery, you are certainly in a great position to begin your life fully in the US.
For those that entered between October and December 2008, the last time the Green Card lottery was run, we did a recent update for you called DV2010 results and information as the US State Department was announcing the winners of that lottery from May 2009.
This year was also the first year results were announced online and also that losing entrants could confirm that indeed they had not been successful in the DV-2010 lottery.
Now many people have been worried about their interview times, etc. and their first and second confirmation letters not arriving. My advice is to;
1. Firstly check the US State Department Official Diversity Visa Lottery Results page to confirm whether you have won this year or not.
2. Then ensure that your initial and second confirmation letters are legitimate as they should contain further instructions, including information on fees connected with immigration to the U.S and information about your US consular interview.
3. At your US consulate interview your information and identity will be confirmed and upon acceptance you will be granted an entry visa to the US (you should enter the US before the expiry date of this visa)
4. After entering the US, your actual green card will be mailed to your nominated US address in a few weeks time. You can leave the US after this initial entry but you should have this actual green card in hand upon your return to the US.
You should note that you will never be notified by email of winning the lottery and a Diversity processing fee is only charged when a winning lottery entrant applies for the Diversity visa. At the time of the visa application at a U.S. consular office, each applicant (the DV entrant and any accompanying family members) will be charged a DV processing fee and immigrant visa fee. Both of these fees are non-refundable if the visa is refused. If the visa is issued, a separate visa issuance fee is then charged for each visa. Do NOT pay any other type of fees to 3rd party organizations as there are many SCAMS associated with the Green Card Lottery.
In case you were wondering DV-2011 (the Green Card Lottery run in 2009) should be open for application sometime in early October but of course check the US State Department sites for upcoming notifications.