The Department of State’s website for the 2017 Diversity Visa program (DV-2017) is now open!

The entry submission period for DV-2017 runs from October 1, 2015 to November 3, 2015. The entry form must be submitted during this period, and entries may only be submitted online at https://www.dvlottery.state.gov/.

Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants,” born in countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States. A limited number of diversity visas (DVs) are available each fiscal year, which traditionally begins on Oct. 1. The DVs are distributed among six geographic regions (Africa; Asia; Europe; North America; Oceania; and South America, Central America, and the Caribbean) and no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available DVs in any one year. Entrants are “chargeable” according their country of birth, not their current country of residence or citizenship. For example, if a person was born in Iran but is a citizen of Canada and resides in Canada, they remain chargeable to Iran for DV purposes; and may apply for the program despite the fact that Canada is not a DV country.

The U.S. Department of State provides a helpful step-by-step guidance on the program and how to submit an entry at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOQlh2d2EbQ&feature=youtu.be. Instructions are also available at http://travel.state.gov/content/dam/visas/Diversity-Visa/DV-Instructions-Translations/DV-2017-Instructions-Translations/DV-2017%20Instructions%20and%20FAQs.pdf.

DV-2017 Entrants will begin to be able to check their entry status starting May 3, 2016. Entrants may only check their status by entering their confirmation information at http://www.dvlottery.state.gov/ESC/; the U.S. government will not mail out a notice regarding an Entrant’s status, and embassies and consulates will not provide a list of selectees. DV-2017 Entrants should keep their confirmation number until at least September 30, 2017.

The list of DV-2017 countries is available in the official DV-2017 Program Instructions http://travel.state.gov/content/dam/visas/Diversity-Visa/DV-Instructions-Translations/DV-2017-Instructions-Translations/DV-2017%20Instructions%20and%20FAQs.pdf, and is also copied below:

LIST OF COUNTRIES/AREAS BY REGION WHOSE NATIVES ARE ELIGIBLE FOR DV-2017

The list below shows the countries whose natives are eligible for DV-2017, grouped by geographic region.

Dependent areas overseas are included within the region of the governing country. The countries whose natives are not eligible for the DV-2017 program were identified by USCIS, according to the formula in Section 203(c) of the INA. The countries whose natives are not eligible for the DV program (because they are the principal source countries of Family-Sponsored and Employment-Based immigration or “high-admission” countries) are noted after the respective regional lists.

AFRICA
Algeria
Angola
Benin
Botswana
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cameroon
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Chad
Comoros
Congo
Congo, Democratic Republic of the
Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
Djibouti
Egypt*
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Gabon
Gambia, The
Ghana
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Kenya
Lesotho
Liberia
Libya
Madagascar
Malawi
Mali
Mauritania
Mauritius
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
Niger
Rwanda
Sao Tome and Principe
Senegal
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Somalia
South Africa
South Sudan
Sudan
Swaziland
Tanzania
Togo
Tunisia
Uganda
Zambia
Zimbabwe

* Persons born in the areas administered prior to June 1967 by Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt are chargeable, respectively, to Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. Persons born in the Gaza Strip are chargeable to Egypt; persons born in the West Bank are chargeable to Jordan; persons born in the Golan Heights are chargeable to Syria.

In Africa, natives of Nigeria are not eligible for this year’s Diversity Visa program.

ASIA
Afghanistan
Bahrain
Bhutan
Brunei
Burma
Cambodia
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region**
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Israel*
Japan
Jordan*
Kuwait
Laos
Lebanon
Malaysia
Maldives
Mongolia
Nepal
North Korea
Oman
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
Singapore
Sri Lanka
Syria*
Taiwan**
Thailand
Timor-Leste
United Arab Emirates
Yemen

*Persons born in the areas administered prior to June 1967 by Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt are chargeable, respectively, to Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. Persons born in the Gaza Strip are chargeable to Egypt; persons born in the West Bank are chargeable to Jordan; persons born in the Golan Heights are chargeable to Syria.

**Natives of the following Asia Region countries are not eligible for this year’s Diversity Visa program: Bangladesh, China (mainland-born), India, Pakistan, South Korea, Philippines, and Vietnam. Hong Kong S.A.R. (Asia region), Macau S.A.R. (Europe region), and Taiwan (Asia region) do qualify and are listed here.

EUROPE
Albania
Andorra
Armenia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Belarus
Belgium
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bulgaria
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark (including components and dependent areas overseas)
Estonia
Finland
France (including components and dependent areas overseas)
Georgia
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Italy
Kazakhstan
Kosovo
Kyrgyzstan
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Macau Special Administrative Region**
Macedonia
Malta
Moldova
Monaco
Montenegro
Netherlands (including components and dependent areas overseas)
Northern Ireland**
Norway
Poland
Portugal (including components and dependent areas overseas)
Romania
Russia
San Marino
Serbia
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Tajikistan
Turkey
Turkmenistan
Ukraine
Uzbekistan
Vatican City

**Natives of the following European countries are not eligible for this year’s DV program: Great Britain (United Kingdom). Great Britain (United Kingdom) includes the following dependent areas: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St. Helena, and Turks and Caicos Islands. Note that for purposes of the diversity program only, Northern Ireland is treated separately; Northern Ireland does qualify and is listed among the qualifying areas. Macau S.A.R. does qualify and is listed above.

NORTH AMERICA
The Bahamas

In North America, natives of Canada and Mexico are not eligible for this year’s DV program.

OCEANIA
Australia (including components and dependent areas overseas)
Fiji
Kiribati
Marshall Islands
Micronesia, Federated States of
Nauru
New Zealand (including components and dependent areas overseas)
Palau
Papua New Guinea
Solomon Islands
Tonga
Tuvalu
Vanuatu
Samoa

SOUTH AMERICA, CENTRAL AMERICA, AND THE CARIBBEAN
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Barbados
Belize
Bolivia
Chile
Costa Rica
Cuba
Dominica
Grenada
Guatemala
Guyana
Honduras
Nicaragua
Panama
Paraguay
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Suriname
Trinidad and Tobago
Uruguay
Venezuela

Countries in this region whose natives are not eligible for this year’s DV program: Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, and Peru.