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Section 203(c) of the INA provides for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program, which provides up to 55,000 immigrant visas each fiscal year to permit additional immigration opportunities for persons from countries with low admissions during the previous five years. Under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) passed in 1997, beginning DV-1999 and for as long as necessary, up to 5,000 of the 55,000 visa allocation will be made available for use under the NACARA program.The annual Diversity Visa Program makes visas available to persons meeting simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. Entrants are selected through computer-generated random selection system. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions, and within each region, no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available visas in any one year. Visas are allocated to nationals of countries with historically lower rates of U.S. immigration. Nationals of countries who have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the past five years are not eligible to apply for the Diversity Visa program.

To enter the Diversity Visa Program, the entrant must be a native of an eligible country and meet either the education or experience requirement of the program. Every entrant must have at least a high school or its equivalent or two years of work experience within the past five years in an occupation requiring at least two years’ training or experience.

The entry must be submitted electronically at Based on the allocations of available visas per region and country, the computer system will randomly select individuals from among qualified entries. If selected, an entrant may proceed with the immigrant visa application provided he or she meets all the eligibility requirements. Application for the visa may be done through consular processing at a U.S. consulate office or adjustment of status at the USCIS.