Irish will get 1,200 places in US immigrant visa lottery


SOME 1,200 US visas are to be made available to Irish born people in a new immigrant visa lottery to be held later this year.

Registration opens on February 12th for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Lottery. This will randomly select those who can apply for one of the 55,000 immigrant visas being made available worldwide. Entries must be received by March 12th.

Applicants must be born in an eligible country, which includes the Republic and Northern Ireland.

Successful applicants must have a pass Leaving Cert or two years work experience within the last five years in a skilled occupation, as defined by the US Department of Labour, be of good health and character and capable of supporting themselves in the US.

The US embassy has stressed that this is a pure lottery, similar to the National Lottery, and no agency can help anyone be successful. Only one applications may be made per person.

The applicant should write his or her country of birth and name, and address clearly on a piece of paper, measuring between 6 and 10 ins and between 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 ins. Address it on the same side, sign it and affix a stamp. The application must also include a recent photograph.

The address for Europe is DV97 Program, National Visa Center, Portsmouth, NH 00210, USA. "The only cost to enter is the price of a postage stamp, according to the statement from the embassy.

A computer will make a random selection from all qualified entries in each geographical region by July 1st. Only successful applicants will be notified.

The successful applicants will then be registered to apply for immigrant visas, and will receive appropriate instructions. Their spouses and children will also be eligible.

Further information on how to enter is available from the US embassy, phone 01 667 2707 or 01 668 8049, or by fax direct from the US at 00-44-1-202-6473000 (code 1103).