The registration period for the 2016 Diversity Visa Program opened on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 12:00 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT -4). The period will close at noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST), Monday, November 3, 2014.
The Diversity Visa program was established by the U.S. Department of State to allow for immigration from countries that traditionally do not send many immigrants to the U.S. Diversity visas are awarded based on a lottery system, and thus diversity visas do not involve priority dates and lengthy wait times that are part of most other immigrant visa categories. The program occurs annually, and registration is only opened during the specific, announced time frame.
There are 55,000 diversity visas available per year and priority is given to countries that have traditionally low rates of immigration to the U.S. Nationals of the following countries are ineligible to register for the 2016 lottery, due to high rates of immigration in the last five years: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom and its dependent territories (excluding Northern Ireland), and Vietnam.
In addition to the nationality requirements, in order to qualify for a diversity visa, you must have at least the equivalent of a high school education or at least two years of training or work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years’ training or experience.