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Don't Gamble on Fraud to Win the Diversity Visa Lottery
November 21, 2008

Unscrupulous businesses and attorneys are trying to lure British citizens into participating in a visa program that's not available to them. The U.S. Embassy in London has received reports of organizations which claim that — for a fee — they can make it easier to enter or win the U.S. State Department's annual Diversity Visa (DV) lottery, also known as the 'green card lottery.'

Each year, the State Department conducts a lottery through its DV program to distribute applications for 50,000 immigrant visas. Winners of the lottery have a chance to apply for an immigrant visa, which can be used to live in the U.S. permanently. Winners are selected randomly, and there is no fee to enter the lottery.

British citizens (except for those from Northern Ireland) are not eligible for the DV lottery, yet many of them fall victim to scams asking them to spend money for the chance to take part. Other scams target victims by e–mail trying to get them to divulge personal data by claiming they have won the lottery and more information is needed from them. (Genuine DV winners are always notified by mail, never by e–mail, and no request for payment is ever made by mail/e–mail.) The UK is one of about twenty countries worldwide that are not eligible for the 2010 program because each country sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the previous five years.

To enter the lottery, you must have been born in an eligible country, or have parents who were born in eligible countries and who were not residents of your country of birth when you were born. For example, your parents might have lived temporarily in the ineligible country because of their jobs. Eligible applicants must also have at least a high school education or at least two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years of training or experience to perform.

According the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), America's consumer protection agency, some businesses and attorneys misrepresent their services by saying that:

— people from ineligible countries still are 'qualified' to enter the lottery;

— the businesses are affiliated with the U.S. government;

— they have special expertise or a special entry form that is required to enter the lottery;

— their company has never had a lottery entry rejected;

— their company can increase an entrant's chances of 'winning' the lottery.

In addition, some companies cause the disqualification of entrants by filing more than the limit of one entry per person. Some companies charge lottery–winning applicants substantial fees to complete the application process.

Entries to the DV lottery must be submitted online at www.dvlottery.state.gov . (This site is accessible only during the application period, which runs until December 1, 2008.)

For more information, contact:

Dick Custin, U.S. Embassy Public Affairs, at 020 7499 5261 or presslon@state.gov

Press Office
American Embassy
24 Grosvenor Square
London W1A 1AE
Tel: 020 7499 5261

Email: presslon@state.gov

Web: http://london.usembassy.gov/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/usembassylondon

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