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19 July 2006
Diversity Visa Process Selects 82,000 Applicants

Applicants could win one of 50,000 visas to United States

Washington – Approximately 82,000 people in 175 nations have received letters from the U.S. State Department informing them that they are eligible to apply for a permanent resident visa to the United States.

Only 50,000 such visas are issued each year in what is known as the Diversity Visa Lottery. More than 5.5 million people submitted entries in the registration process held during the last quarter of 2005.

A media note issued by the State Department July 18 says 82,000 applicants were selected at random in the lottery and encouraged to apply.

It is likely that many people involved in this initial stage will not follow through with their applications, so the selection of more than 80,000 should insure that all visas allowed under this program will be issued, the media note said.

The diversity visa lottery, designed to bring greater racial and ethnic diversity to the United States, offers permanent residency visas to citizens of nations that traditionally have a low level of immigration to the United States.

Anyone who applied but has not received notification to move to the next step in visa application has no further eligibility in this year’s process and should prepare to apply at the end of this year when the next lottery opens.

The dates for the next lottery entry period will be announced in August. (See related article.)

In Africa, citizens from 50 nations will have the opportunity to apply for a diversity visa. The most lottery winners from any one African country – more than 9,800 – are in Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country. Egypt was next, with more than 7,200 visa applicants selected, followed by Ethiopia with nearly 6,900.

Bangladesh has the highest number of potential applicants among Asian nations at 5,900. More than 1,500 Nepalese are being informed of their eligibility to pursue a permanent resident visa, along with more than 1,300 Iranians.

Citizens who once lived under the influence of the Soviet Union also are receiving invitations to pursue an opportunity to immigrate to the United States. More than 7,200 Ukrainians were selected in the lottery, along with almost 2,000 Albanians and 1,700 Bulgarians.

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