State Department Gets 6.4 Million Entries for 2008 Visa Lottery

By Jeffrey Thomas
USINFO Staff Writer

Washington – More than 6.4 million entries have been received for the 2008 Diversity Visa Lottery, the State Department announced December 15.

The registration period for the program, which is designed to bring greater racial and ethnic diversity to the United States, ended December 3. No additional entries are being accepted.

Applicants whose names will be selected randomly will be eligible to apply for one of 50,000 permanent resident visas made available annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

In its announcement, the State Department warned that there have been “several attempts” to defraud Diversity Visa Lottery entrants. Winners will be notified by mail between April and July 2007 and only by the Department of State’s Kentucky Consular Center, the State Department said. “No other organization or company is authorized by the Department of State to contact winning entrants.”

Notifications mailed from the Kentucky Consular Center will provide further instructions, including information on fees connected with immigration to the United States.

Africa accounts for 41 percent of the total applications received during the two-month electronic registration period, from October 4, 2006, through December 3, 2006. Asia accounts for 38 percent, Europe for 19 percent, and South America, Central America, and the Caribbean for 2 percent. 

Bangladesh was the country with the largest number of applicants, with more than 1.7 million, followed by Nigeria with 684,000 and Ukraine with 619,000. 

Once dependents are taken into account, the total number of participants in the 2008 lottery exceeds 10 million.  The 2007 Diversity Visa Lottery attracted more than 5.5 million applications, and approximately 82,000 people in 175 nations received letters from the U.S. State Department informing them that they were eligible to apply for a permanent resident visa to the United States. (See related article.)

Additional information on the Diversity Visa Immigrant Program is available on the State Department Web site.

For additional information on U.S. policies, see Immigration Reform and Population and Diversity.