The US Department of State announced the opening of the registration period for the DV-2012 Diversity Visa lottery on Tuesday, marking a full month of worries for thousands in Armenia longing for the ‘dream of californication’ and eager to migrate to the USA.
The Diversity Immigrant Visa program is a United States congressionally-mandated lottery program for receiving a United States Permanent Resident Card. It is also known as the Green Card Lottery. The program grants a maximum of 55,000 Diversity Visas (DVs) each year to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Armenia is one of those countries.
The annual DV program makes visas available to persons meeting simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. A computer-generated, random lottery drawing chooses selectees for DVs. Winning the lottery is not a guarantee receipt of a visa – winners must be interviewed and qualify for it.
The entries to the lottery must be submitted electronically at www.dvlottery.state.gov from Tuesday, October 5, 2010, and noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT-4), Wednesday, November 3, 2010. The process is completely free.
Over the past 3 years I’ve seen an array of relatives and friends win the lottery and migrate to the USA. And I’d bet 80% of the population would gladly apply for it, if they knew how. Many ask help from English speaking, computer literate friends and relatives.
There are already announcements on entrances of apartment buildings and bus stops in Yerevan, as well as Armenian websites providing classified ads, about paid services for help filling in the lottery (e.g. 1, 2, 3). Those services cost from $5 to $30.
There used to be also large offices in central Yerevan locations claiming to provide full service – filling in, walking lottery winners through the application process and visa interview for as much as $600 – $2000. I don’t see many of them anymore – perhaps they went out of business faced with competition with cheep alternatives?
I’ve helped fill in the application for friends in the past and have always wondered – what makes those people want to leave their lives and everything familiar and dash out for something vague and unknown, for the ‘dream of californication.’
I always warn them, that life is as hard in the US and that with their lack of skills, no knowledge of the language will make them lousy immigrants. But they keep insisting on the chance to get to that magic place – America.
Why not? Perhaps that’s where the strength of the USA is – in the blind belief of thousands of dreamers, immigrants, who built that country? Hmmm, maybe for once, I should try to fill in the application myself?