Visa Lottery deadline moved to October
NEW YORK - Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani announced on Monday, August 25, that the Federal DV-99 Immigration Visa Lottery has moved up its application period to October 24 through November 24 of this year, almost four months earlier than its originally scheduled date of February 1998. The mayor urged prospective visa lottery applicants to obtain information from the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) on how to apply. (Applicants that live outside the New York City area can contact INS at (800) 375-5283 for the address of their regional application center).
From October 24 to November 24, the U.S. State Department will conduct its fourth annual Diversity Visa Lottery and will award 55,000 permanent resident visas, nationwide, to immigrants from traditionally lower-immigration areas. The lottery program was established by the Immigration Act of 1990 to expand the number of countries from which new immigrants to the United States originate. Being randomly selected in the visa lottery does not guarantee a permanent resident visa, but it does make the prospective green card candidate eligible to apply for a permanent resident visa immediately.
Mayor Giuliani also announced that the Department of Consumer Affairs will conduct an educational outreach campaign to steer prospective lottery participants away from unscrupulous immigration service practitioners.
"We can't do anything to actually increase prospective immigrants' chance in the lottery, [but] we can make sure that they get accurate, up-to-date information and have everything they need to make the process go smoothly," said the mayor.
DCA Commissioner Jose Maldonado added, "Unfortunately, some fraudulent immigrant service providers see the lottery as a chance to prey on prospective immigrants. With our outreach campaign, we hope to get the message across that this lottery is free and easy to enter, that we have information available in nine languages to help future Americans take advantage of this opportunity - without being taken advantage of by con artists."
Michael Bloom, director of the Federal Trade Commissions New York regional office, said "consumers should be on the alert for unscrupulous businesses and attorneys who claim that, for a fee, they can increase your chances of winning the U.S. State Department's annual visa lottery. Selection is purely random and there are no special techniques or loopholes available to increase an individual's chance of winning."
Visa Lottery rules
Visa Lottery applicants must now furnish a 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" photograph no more than six months old, with their name printed on the back and taped to their lottery applications. The following lottery rules and restrictions also govern the lottery:
The Consumer Guide, which explains the rules and restrictions for the upcoming Visa Lottery, to the DV-99 Visa Lottery is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Italian, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian and Arabic. Another brochure titled Beware of Immigration Services Fraud is also available in nine languages.
To get a free copy of the guides, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to:
Consumer Affairs Visa Lottery Guides, 42 Broadway, New York, NY 10004. (Pleas specify the language in which you wish to receive the material).
Consumers who believe they are the victims of fraud concerning the green card lottery program are urged to contact the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs at (212) 487-4444 or the Federal Trade Commission's Regional Office at (212) 264-1207.
Mayor Giuliani asked prospective lottery applicants to take note of the following hotlines for assistance:
U.S. State Department Hotline, 1-900-884-8840 (each call costs $5.10); New York Immigration Hotline, (718) 899-4000; U.S. Immigration and Naturalization services, (800) 375-5283.
Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, August 31, 1997, No. 35, Vol. LXV
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