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DV Lottery re-starts October 18: ALL so far Submitted Entry Forms INVALID

Electronic registration for DV-2019 will re-start on Wednesday, October 18, at 12.00 p.m. EDT.
ALL Entry Forms submitted before that date are INVALID and need to be submitted again!
Closing date for DV-2019 is now Wednesday, November 22, at 12.00 p.m. EST.

The Department of State issued a statement:
We regret the inconvenience to Diversity Visa entrants. In order to ensure fairness and protect the integrity of the process for all those concerned, however, we must restart the entry process for this year (DV-2019).

If you entered before Wednesday, October 18, 2017, that entry will NOT be considered, and you will need to submit another Entry Form during the new registration period.
You may submit one new entry without being disqualified for submitting multiple entries. Individuals who submit more than one entry during the new registration period will be disqualified.

The Department will send an automated email notification to each Diversity Visa Entrant from whom an entry was received before October 18, 2017, using the email address provided on the lottery entry form, directing the entrant to check the website dvlottery.state.gov for an important announcement.

DV-2019 also has a new date Entrant Status Check becomes possible: May 15, 2018.

Nota Bene. Everyone who submitted an Entry Form before the eDV website went off-line (Tuesday, October 10) must enter again. No exceptions possible. Please keep the NEW Confirmation Number safe for your Status Check next year ! The photo(s) previously uploaded for the now invalid DV-2019 submission can be used again. To re-enter go to www.dvlottery.state.gov 

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Diversity Visa Lottery Entry Form taken off-line

Part of the official Diversity Visa Lottery website was taken off-line on Tuesday, October 10. People wanting to access the DV-2019 Entry Form found they were unable to so so.
Entrant Status Check for DV-2018 continued to be possible.
The Department of State gives maintenance of the Electronic Application System (AES) as the reason. It is at this moment unclear when the site will resume accepting DV Applications.
The 2019 Diversity Visa Lottery program started last week on Tuesday, October 3, and will end on Tuesday, November 7, at noon.

As of Thursday, October 12, the problems are ongoing and the Entry Form can still not be accessed.

 

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New Travel Ban announced, 4 countries added, 1 removed

The Trump administration today announced new list of countries restricted under the travel ban. This is the third version of the controversial executive order. It will go into effect on Wednesday, October 18, 2017.

Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela are added to the list of banned countries.
No longer on the list is Sudan.
The remaining banned countries are Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia.

The imposed restrictions differ per country:
– North Korea, Syria: no entry for immigrants and non-immigrants.
– Chad, Yemen, Libya: no entry for immigrants as well as for non-immigrants traveling on business and tourist visas.
– Somalia: no entry for immigrants. Non-immigrants will face enhanced screening and vetting requirements.
– Iran: no entry for immigrants and for non-immigrants. Holders of valid student and exchange visitor visas are for now excepted from the ban.
– Venezuela: no entry for certain government officials and their immediate family members on some business and tourist visas.

Currently immigrants and non-immigrants from Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan are banned unless they can prove a bona fide relationship with a person or with an entity. Individuals eligible for this exception can apply for a visa until October 18.

The new executive order is not limited time-wise, but “indefinite” and “condition based”.

The order gives Consular Officers the discretion to waive restriction on a case-by-case basis.

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DV-2019 program officially announced

The US Department of State announced today the dates for the 2019 Diversity Visa Lottery, also called Green Card Lottery or DV Lottery.

The Entry Period for the DV-2019 program will run from Tuesday, October 3, until Tuesday, November 7, 2017.

On October 3 the starting time is 12:00 pm (noon), EST (GMT-4).
On November 7 the closing time is 12:00 pm (noon), EDT (GMT-5).

Participating in the Visa Lottery is free.
To enter go to the official eDV website
dvlottery.state.gov

The Entry Form that must be submitted will become available on the eDV site on October 3 !
Pre-registration is not possible.

Entrant Status Check becomes possible on the eDV site May 1, 2018.

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Hurricane Irma: USCIS offices closed in FL, the Caribbean

USCIS Field Offices and Support Centers in Florida and in the Caribbean will be closed temporarily because of Hurricane Irma.

USCIS Offices in Houston, TX, are expected to resume normal operations on September 11.

People who have appointments are advised to check and to reschedule if needed.

For more information https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/uscis-office-closings

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DACA phased out; Trump asks Congress “to do their job”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced today plans to end the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Applications for DACA will no longer be accepted.
For current recipients the program will be phased out. The government will only continue to renew existing permits during the next six months.

DACA was created in 2012 through an executive order by Prez Obama. The program shields from deportation about 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children. It did not provide legal status to the so-called Dreamers but allowed them to have work permits.

Prez Trump urged members of Congress to come together and reform the immigration legislation. Preferably before the six months are over. “Congress, get ready to do your job – DACA!” he tweeted.

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DV-2019 websites ! A better way to enter the Visa Lottery ?

Websites offering registration for this year’s Visa Lottery are popping up all over the internet and on the social media. “Apply for your Green Card NOW !” they advertise. 

These websites are NOT created by the US Government. These sites are set up by private persons, agencies or companies. They make money of the (free) US Diversity Visa Lottery program.
The person, agency or business can be legally registered in the US. That does not mean they are licensed by the US Government to offer Visa Lottery or Green Card related services.

Do not be fooled by the official sounding names of some of these agencies.
Or by the websites they have, complete with official looking stamps and seals.

Spending money does not buy you a better chance of winning a Green Card !

dvlottery.state.gov

This address is the one and only official eDV site.
It is administered by the US Departement of State (DOS).
There is NO charge if you enter on the official site.

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USCIS offices in TX closed because of Hurricane Harvey

USCIS warns that some of its Local Field Offices and Application Support Centers in Texas may be closed because of Hurricane – now Tropical Storm – Harvey.

People who have appointments are advised to check and to reschedule if needed. 

Currently offices/centers are closed in Harlingen, Houston, McAllen. Other locations can be added.

For more information https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/uscis-office-closings

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US Non-Immigrant Visa issuance in Russia temporarily halted

No Visitor Visas issued at Embassy in Moscow during next 8 days, suspension indefinite at Consulates.

The US Embassy in Moscow will stop issuing Non-Immigrant (N/I) Visas for eight days, starting Wednesday, August 28. The measure also means that N/I Visa issuance is suspended at the US Consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok.
The visas involved are mainly B-1/2 Visitor Visas, needed to enter the US temporarily “for business and/or for tourism”.
The Russian Foreign Ministry recently ordered the number of US Embassy and Consulate workers to be capped. Diplomatic staff had to be reduced by 750 people (two-thirds of the total number of workers). 
The US Embassy intends to resume issuing N/I Visas on September 1. However the suspension will for now stay in place at the US Consulates. 

According to statistics of the US State Department close to 190,000 Non-Immigrant Visas were granted in Russia last year.

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More fraudulent DV emails sent to “lucky” people

Again DV Lottery Entrants are receiving emails telling them that they won. Even people who never entered the Visa Lottery are getting emails with congratulations ! Senders use a seal to make their email look official and even include a Winning Number. The receivers of the emails are told to click a link for further processing. The seal is fake and so is the number. The link however is real, delivering the “lucky” people into the hands of the scammers. 

The US Department of State (DOS) repeated that it does not send emails or letters to inform DV Entrants that they are selected in the Visa Lottery. It also does not call people. It does not contact people through social media. The only way to find out if one is a winner – or not – is to do the Entrant Status Check on the eDV website. DOS advises strongly not to respond to the email. 

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US Senate bill proposes immigration limits

Prez Trump endorsed today a new Senate bill aimed at immigration reform. Under the acronym RAISE (Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy) it proposes to lower Immigration levels over the next ten years to ultimately 500,000 permanent immigrants per year.

This goal would be reached by removing some categories that US citizens and Permanent Residents are currently allowed to sponsor. Only spouses and unmarried minor children would be eligible for immigration.
Furthermore the yearly number of refugees permanently allowed in would be limited to 50,000. The Diversity Visa Lottery program would be cancelled.

The bill also proposes a more merit based immigration system (like Canada and Australia have). Points would be awarded based on factors such as English ability, education levels, job skills.
The limit for employment-based Green Cards would however stay at its current level of 140,000.

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15,000 extra H-2B Visas available for FY 2017

US employers can to hire up to 15,000 extra H-2B workers in coming months. 
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) determined that “US businesses are in danger of suffering irreparable harm due to a lack of sufficient labor. There are not enough qualified and willing US workers available for temporary non-agricultural jobs.”

The H-2B Temporary Non-Agricultural Worker Program allows US businesses to bring in a maximum of 66,000 temporary foreign workers every year for non-agricultural jobs. (For temporary jobs in agriculture the H-2A program exists.)
A maximum of 33,000 H-2B visas is available during the first half of a Fiscal Year (from October 1 till March 30 the next year). The remaining 33,000 is available in de second half of the FY (from April 1 until September 30).
An H-2B visa can be renewed once, after the second period the worker must leave the US.

For FY 2016 an exemption was in place that effectively quadrupled the number of H-2B visas: returning workers were not counted against the annual statutory cap of 66,000. This provision however was not extended for FY 2017. 

USCIS announced on March 13 it had received sufficient petitions to meet the full statutory cap for FY 2017. Congress gave the Secretary of DHS authority to increase the number. The increase is meant to be a one-time event.

H-2B visas are mainly used in industries with seasonal peaks, e.g. hospitality, tourism & recreation, landscaping, food processing, etc.

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Delay announced for International Entrepreneur Rule

The International Entrepreneur Rule, scheduled to go into effect July 17, has been delayed until March 14, 2018.

The rule would have given the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) authority to grant certain foreign entrepreneurs a parole – permission to live and work in the US – for up to 30 months, with the possibility of an extension.

The benefit was meant for foreign entrepreneurs who were able to demonstrate that their stay in the US would provide a significant public benefit e.g. job creation.

The rule was proposed by Prez Obama. DHS estimated that 2,940 entrepreneurs would be eligible every year. The parole could be extended to up to three people per start-up. Permission to work would only be granted for the company in question. 
Spouses and children of the entrepreneurs would be allowed to stay as well, with spouses eligible for a general work permit (EAD).

DHS stated that the delay will provide it “with an opportunity to obtain comments from the public regarding a proposal to rescind the rule.”

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DV-2017 News – Selectee Cut-Off Numbers for September

The latest Visa Bulletin (August 2017) gives the following Allocation Cut-Off Numbers for the month of September 2017.

A Visa Number is available for each DV-2017 Winner with a Case Number below the Cut-Off Number for their region or country. 

Nota Bene: DV-2017 ends on September 30, 2017, the last day of US Fiscal Year 2017. After that date no more visas can be issued for DV-2017. 

AFRICA: CURRENT
Except:
Egypt 36,500

ASIA: CURRENT
Except:
Nepal 7,450

EUROPE: CURRENT

NORTH AMERICA (BAHAMAS): CURRENT

OCEANIA: CURRENT

SOUTH AMERICA & CARIBBEAN: CURRENT

CP Applicants (finalizing in home country):
Will get an email alert from KCC for the Second Notification Letter, containing instructions for the Visa Interview and the Medical Examination.

AOS Applicants (finalizing in US):
Should have the Medical Examination – if not undergone already.
Must send their I-485 application ‘package’ to a USCIS Lockbox and prepare for the AOS interview.

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Visa Lottery scams in Iran, Iraq, Nepal, and elsewhere

There are this year more Visa Lottery scams than ever before ! Especially in Iran, Iraq, Nepal.

Scammers are sending emails and letters to people who entered the DV program last year (DV-2018) or the year before (DV-2017). These emails and letters contain links that will lead to the scammers. Responding to these emails/letters will cost you money, but will not get you a Green Card.

Tthe US Government does NOT send emails or letters to Lottery Entrants informing them that they won. Please do not respond to letters that pretend to be from the National Visa Center NVC, the Kentucky Consular Center KCC, the US Department of State (DOS), US Immigration Services (USCIS). They are all fake. The same goes for emails that you won, they are fake. Your “winning number” is a fake. Please do not react !

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This year’s Diversity Visa Lottery (DV-2019)

People all over the world, interested in immigrating into the US, wonder if there will be another chance to play for a Diversity Visa.

At the moment it is unclear whether another Visa Lottery, DV-2019, will be held. IF it happens, the Entry Period will be in October and possibly a few days in November this year (2017). Usually the announcement for a new DV-program is made late August, early September.

The requirements for education and/or work experience will probably be the same as for previous Visa Lotteries. Regarding eligibility – we must wait and see which countries the State Department will include and which it will exclude.   

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Revised Travel Ban now in place

A revised version of Prez Trump’s travel ban goes into effect today. The restrictions will affect visitors from Syria, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Somalia. 
The travel ban is for 90 days. Unless it is renewed, the ban expires on September 27, 2017.

Reinstatement of the ban is the result of a recent decision by the US Supreme Court. The Court announced it will hear arguments for and against the travel restrictions in October. 

Nationals from the six countries “with a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the US” can be excepted from the rule. Examples of people with “bona fide” ties are: immediate relatives or close family members of a US citizen or Permanent Resident, students accepted at a US college or university, foreign workers hired by a US employer.

Which others can also qualify is unclear. The Court’s opinion leaves room for more exceptions  on a case-by-case basis.

A temporary ban against nearly all refugees, regardless of origin, was also put in place today. This ban is for 120 days and will expire on October 27, 2017, unless it is renewed. Exceptions are possible for people with “bona fide” ties (see before).

Exempt from the bans are: Green Card holders, people in the US on a Non-Immigrant Visa, dual nationals, people granted asylum, refugees already admitted or cleared for travel to the US.

For DV-Lottery winners: the State Department announced that visas already approved will not be revoked. Previously scheduled Visa Interview appointments will not be cancelled.

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DAPA gone, DACA stays (for now)

Thursday, June 16 – DHS Secretary John F. Kelly announced today that he is rescinding Prez Obama’s DAPA memorandum (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents).
This program was meant to shelter certain undocumented immigrants from deportation. DAPA was never implemented because was put on hold by federal courts after 26 states challenged the memo.
Mr. Kelly said the decision would not impact Prez Obama’s DACA memorandum (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). This program grants temporary reprieve from deportation to nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children.

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USCIS warns about new phone scam

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a fraud alert to warn the public.

Scammers are abusing a DHS telephone number. They altered their caller ID to make it seem like the call is coming from the DHS OIG* hotline (1-800-323-8603) and identify themselves as “U.S. immigration employees”.
The scammer then demands personal information, often by telling the person that they called that they are victims of identity theft.
USCIS asks the public to remember that it never asks for payment over the phone or in an email. If USCIS needs you to send a payment, you will receive an official letter with instructions.

  • OIG: Office of the Inspector General, the office that oversees USCIS operations.

 

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