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Visa Lottery

The Visa Lottery is also known as the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program.  This makes 50,000 permanent resident visas available annually to people from countries with low rates of immigration.  Applicants are chosen by a computer-generated random lottery drawing.  The visas are distributed among six geographic regions, and no one country within the region may receive more than seven percent of the available visas.

For the year 2006, the people of the following countries are not allowed to apply because they have sent a total of more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the past five years:
CANADA, CHINA (mainland-born), COLOMBIA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, EL SALVADOR, HAITI, INDIA, JAMAICA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PHILIPPINES, RUSSIA, SOUTH KOREA, UNITED KINGDOM (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and VIETNAM. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible.