More than a million Ghanaians entered the 2016 Diversity Immigrant Visa Programme (DV Lottery ) for 2016 for a chance to travel to the United States of America to seek greener pastures.
Out of the number, 6,000 Ghanaians were successfully selected in the computerised random selection process.
However, only 2,500 Ghanaians out of the 6,000 have qualified to enter the United States after winning the 2016 DV Lottery. The remaining 3,500 were disqualified because they did not meet the basic requirements of a secondary education for all applicants.
The Consul General of the Embassy of the United States, Dr Phillip-Franz Seitz, made this known to the Daily Graphic in an interview in Accra yesterday following the official announcement of the 2017 DV Lottery programme. For Fiscal Year 2017, 50,000 Diversity Visas (DVs) will be available globally.
He said there was no cost to register for the DV programme and the application for the lottery opens on Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 4:00 GMT and closes on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 4:00 GMT.
Dr Phillip-Franz indicated that those who were selected and qualified could become Lawful Permanent Residents of the United States and the DV lottery could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity but unfortunately, scammers and con artists also saw the lottery as an opportunity to make profit from others’ hopes and dreams.
He said the use of fake documents and papers by applicants to make entries into the visa lottery programme was one of the common frauds that usually led to mass disqualification of most applicants from Ghana.
According to him, most applicants from Ghana entered the competition with fake documentation which were automatically rejected by the system.
“This is what we discovered from time to time because a lot of people try to play smart with the system which does not favour them at all in the end because they are automatically rejected,” he said.
He stated that the lottery, since it was created in 1990 and held every year since it was initiated under the Immigration Act, allowed 50, 000 people from other countries to acquire visas, issued as part of the programme every year, to migrate to the US in order to “add their vibrancy and make cultural contributions to the US.
According to the Consul General, the congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Programme is administered annually by the Department of State under Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) which provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants” from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.
He said diversity visas were distributed among six geographic regions and no single country might receive more than seven percent of the available DVs in any one year.
Dr Philip-Franz said, however, that for DV-2017, natives of the following countries were not eligible to apply, because more than 50,000 natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years.
The countries are Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam.
Dr Philip-Franz said names of the winners would be available on their website and accessible to the public with a “special pin number” on May 15, 2016 and warned the public against emails, letters and telephone calls claiming they had won saying, “that is not us talking.”
He advised all prospective DV lottery applicants to enter themselves and protect themselves from identity fraud.
The Consul General said there were three most important facts you should remember about the Diversity Visa Lottery, You can enter yourself. Entering is absolutely free, We will never, ever notify you via email, mail or phone that you have been selected”, he said.
He said the diversity visa programme sustained America’s heritage as a country of immigrants. Through each individual, “we grow stronger as a whole and if it’s your dream to be part of that heritage, submit your entry yourself, for free, at dunlearys.state.gov between October 1 and November 3, 2015”.