Only a few UAE residents are eligible for the visa lottery in the United States.

gREEN CARD LOTTERY

Only specific UAE residents will be eligible to apply for a ‘Green Card’ to dwell in the United States in 2003.

The US Congress sets aside a maximum of 55,000 visas each year for people of countries with low immigration rates in the US through the Diversity Visa (DV) lottery scheme.

Since 1999, the Nicaraguan and Central African Relief Act (NCARA) has required that 5,000 of the 55,000 visas be allocated to this region, thereby reducing the amount of visas available to 50,000 for the rest of the world.

The United States Immigration and Nationality Act of 1990 establishes the amount of visas available, which are divided among six geographic regions: Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, Oceania, and South, Central, and Caribbean America.

Only certain UAE residents will be eligible to apply for the annual lottery for a ‘Green Card’ to live in the U.S. in 2003.

Visas are issued in higher numbers to regions with lower immigration rates, whereas natives of countries with high immigration rates are not eligible to apply.

Nationals of India, Pakistan, the Philippines, China (mainland-born), Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, South Korea, the United Kingdom and dependent states, and Vietnam are not eligible to participate in the 2003 lottery.

To be eligible, an applicant must be a native of one of the lottery’s participating countries and have completed high school, or the equivalent in the United States. There are no further restrictions except that the applicant must be at least 18 years old.

New immigrants are chosen at random in a lottery, and those interested must apply between noon on October 1 and noon on October 31. All lottery applications received within this time period will be considered valid.

A single application can be submitted by a single applicant. In a family, however, the husband and wife can both apply independently, doubling their chances. Only those who are chosen are notified via mail.

The application procedure is straightforward. There is no one-size-fits-all application form. The applicant must write his own, his spouse’s, and children’s full names, date and place of birth, native country, postal address, and attach color photographs of himself and family members on a plain sheet of paper, sign, and mail it to the relevant address.

The application is free to submit, and the US government does not charge a fee to process it. However, some websites on the Internet take advantage of the public’s lack of knowledge about the postal address by charging money to execute the application.

According to a representative for the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi, “The DV program is run by the US government with no outside consultants or private mail service. Any intermediaries or others who assist applicants in preparing DV casework do so without the permission or consent of the United States government. The applicant has complete option over whether or not to use an outside mediator or assistance to create a DV 2003 entry.

“A qualified entry received directly from an applicant has the same likelihood as an entry obtained through a paid intermediary who completes the submission for the applicant of being selected by the computer at the Kentucky Consular Centre.”

Meanwhile, Canadian Legal Services is putting together application forms, envelopes, and information pamphlets for public distribution. “Like last year, we’ll provide a free information pamphlet, application form, and printed envelopes,” Canadian Legal Services’ Sam Byat said.

“We discovered last year that some customers had made errors when writing the required mailing addresses on the envelopes. As a result, we’re now printing their envelopes as well. Within ten days, these will be ready.”

The company will also advertise to raise public awareness of the lottery, according to the spokesman, and has produced a free printable application form on its website, www.ilsgroup.com.

Some document clearing shops in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah intend to’sell’ their own DV lottery application forms.

Last year, Mozammel Haq, the proprietor of Jeddah Typing, stated his company’sold’ over 1,000 DV 2002 forms. “For processing a form, we charge Dh10,” he explained. “We’ve prepared the form again this year, and whenever people start approaching us, we’ll serve them.”

Green Dome Typing’s Fazlul Kabir Chowdhury said: “We obtained the revised DV 2003 dates via the Internet and are currently producing the application forms. When the mail-in period begins in the last week of September, applicants will approach us.

“We assisted approximately 2,000 applications last year, the majority of which were Bangladeshis, Sudanese, Somalese, Iranians, and Afghans. We anticipate a bigger number of applicants this year.” If Indians and Pakistanis had qualified, he continued, the number would have risen considerably.

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