Warning: visa lottery has pitfalls

According to David T. Donahue, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Visas, participation in the Diversity Visa Program may influence the American consul’s decision to grant or deny someone a tourist visa.

The State Department keeps records of the applicants, he told Nowy Dziennik during a teleconference with ethnic journalists on Sept. 28, devoted to the 2013 Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery.

The official explained that each application for a tourist visa is given individual consideration. He said a participant in the visa lottery who qualifies for a tourist visa, and for example, has traveled to the U.S. before, should be able to obtain it. However, if there is a suspicion that the person applying for a tourist visa is planning to stay permanently, then the consulate is obliged to issue a denial, he said, adding that filling out an application for the visa lottery may suggest the individual’s intent to stay in the U.S. permanently.

Donahue also explained the mistake that occurred during the drawing of last year’s lottery, the DV-2012, where tens of thousands of applicants were erroneously informed that their names had been drawn. Because of a computer glitch, the lottery had to be performed again.

“It was a human error in the programming,” Donahue said and offered assurances that the State Department will do its utmost to avoid such mistakes in the future.

He advised all applicants in the DV-2013 visa lottery to secure the printed confirmation number of their submitted application, suggesting that they treat it like a bank account number or password.

Applications for the visa lottery can be submitted from Tuesday, Oct. 4 through noon Saturday, Nov. 5. Polish citizens are eligible to participate in this year’s lottery. Entries may be submitted at: http://www.dvlottery.state.gov

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