Instructions for the 2004 Diversity Visa Lottery Have Been Announced

The deadline for entries for the 2004 Diversity Visa Lottery (DV-2004) is soon arriving. All entries must be received at one of the six Kentucky Consular Center Mailing Addresses between noon on Monday, October 7, 2002 and noon on Wednesday, November 6, 2002. Entries received before or after these posted dates will be automatically disqualified. There will be no exceptions to this rule, including entries postmarked between the applicable dates.

Diversity visas are divided among the six geographic regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, South America/Central America/Caribbean, Oceania and North America. Regions with lower immigration rates will be apportioned a higher number of visas. No visas will be offered to nations that have sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the past five years.

55,000 Diversity Visas are offered each year. However, since 1999, 5,000 of these visas have been allocated for the Nicaraguan and Central American Relief Act. This allocation will remain in place for DV-2004.

Because their nations sent more than 50,000 immigrants to the U.S. in the past five years, natives of the following countries will not be eligible for DV-2004: Canada, China (mainland-born), Columbia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. Individuals born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taiwan, however, are eligible for DV-2004.

To be eligible for the Diversity Lottery Program, you should have either a high school education, its equivalent or two years work experience within the last five years in a job which demands two years training. You or your spouse must be a native of a nation eligible for the Diversity Lottery Program. You may be eligible if your parent was born in a country eligible to participate in the lottery.

Entries should be submitted by regular or airmail to one of the six addresses below. Choose the address that matches the region of your native country. Do not send entries by express or priority mail, second day airmail, fax, hand, messenger or any other means that require a receipt or special handling. The envelope you mail your entry in must be between 6 and 10 inches long and 3.5 and 4.5 inches wide. In the upper left-hand corner of the envelope, write your country of nativity, along with your name and full return address. Postcards, envelopes inside express or oversized packages, and lack of complete information will all lead to disqualification.

For more information on DV-2004, click here to visit the Department of State’s “Instructions for the 2004 Diversity Immigrant Visa Program”.

The following are the mailing addresses for the six geographical regions:

Africa
(Includes all countries on the African continent and adjacent islands)
DV Program, Kentucky Consular
Center, 1001 Visa Crest,
Migrate, KY 41901-1000, USA

Asia
(Extends from Israel to the Northern Pacific Islands, and includes Indonesia)
DV Program Kentucky Consular
Center, 2002 Visa Crest,
Migrate, KY 41902-2000, USA

Europe
(Extends from Greenland to Russia, and includes all countries of the former USSR)
DV Program Kentucky Consular
Center, 3003 Visa Crest,
Migrate, KY 41903-3000, USA

South America/Central America/Caribbean
(Extends from Central America (Guatemala) and the Caribbean nations to Chile)
DV Program Kentucky Consular
Center, 4004 Visa Crest,
Migrate, KY 41904-4000, USA

Oceania
(Includes Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and all countries and islands of the South Pacific)
DV Program Kentucky Consular
Center, 5005 Visa Crest,
Migrate, KY 41905-5000, USA

North America
(Includes the Bahamas)
DV Program Kentucky Consular
Center, 6006 Visa Crest,
Migrate, KY 41906-6000, USA

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Implementation of First Phase of Entry-Exit Registration System Set for September 11, 2002

The INS will implement the first phase of the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) at selected ports of entry in the U.S. on September 11, 2002. This initial phase will enable the INS to test and evaluate the NSEERS; after an initial 20-day period the system will be implemented at all ports of entry across the United States.

The NSEERS program will match the fingerprints of certain foreign visitors against national databases of known criminals and known terrorists. The INS will choose foreign visitors for this inquiry based on “intelligence criteria reflecting patterns of terrorist organizations’ activities,” according to the Department of Justice. A pilot program conducted earlier this year to identify wanted criminals trying to re-enter the U.S resulted in over 2,000 arrests in a six-month period.

Foreign visitors chosen for scrutiny will also be required to periodically confirm their location of residence and purpose within the U.S. These visitors will also be required to report any time they leave the U.S.

According to the Department of Justice, “U.S. law has long required aliens who stay in the United States for more than 30 days to be registered and fingerprinted.” This law, however, has not been officially practiced for decades. “The NSEERS program will put registration and fingerprinting requirements back in place, along with exit controls.”

Foreign nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria will be required to participate in the NSEERS program. The State Department reserves the right to add to the list any group of nonimmigrant aliens they believe may pose an elevated national security risk.

Attorney General John Ashcroft believes the NSEERS program will enhance the national security of the United States. “The vulnerabilities of our immigration system became starkly clear on September 11th,” Ashcroft said. “This system will expand substantially America’s scrutiny of those foreign visitors who may present an elevated national security risk.”

In the USA PATRIOT Act, Congress required that the Justice Department develop some form of an entry-exit system to strengthen the security of the nation. The NSEERS program, according to the Department of Justice, “is the first step toward the development of a comprehensive entry-exit system applicable to virtually all foreign visitors.”

U.S. Treasury Department Proposes to Implement Section 312 of the USA PATRIOT Act

The Treasury Department recently issued and sent to the Federal Register a proposed rule implementing a portion of the USA PATRIOT Act. Section 312 of the PATRIOT Act, when enacted, will require some U.S. financial institutions to take appropriate, and in some cases, enhanced, anti-money laundering measures to ensure the validity of correspondent and private banking accounts that they maintain for non-U.S. persons.

This proposed rule will require certain U.S. financial institutions to establish a “due diligence program” that will, as its purpose, detect and report acts of money laundering in correspondent accounts. According to the Office of Public Affairs, financial institutions will also be required to “conduct enhanced due diligence for accounts maintained for foreign banks from certain jurisdictions considered of higher risk for money laundering.”

These U.S. financial institutions will also be required to “take reasonable steps to determine the owners of, and source of funds deposited into, private banking accounts” of non-U.S. persons, according to the Office of Public Affairs. Accounts for senior foreign political individuals must also be scrutinized to check for incidents of foreign corruption.

This proposed rule will be open for public comments for 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register. Comments (original plus four copies) should be mailed to: FinCEN, P.O. Box 39, Vienna, VA 22183, Attn: Section 312 Regulations. Comments may also be emailed to regcomments@fincen.treas.gov with “Attention: Section 312 Regulations” in the subject line.

The USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 was signed into law October 26, 2001 by President Bush. For more information on Section 312 of the PATRIOT Act, visit http://www.treas.gov/press/releases/docs/nprm.pdf.

INS Publishes New Interim Rule Allowing for Concurrent Filing of Forms I-140 and I-485

A new interim rule published by the Immigration and Naturalization Service took effect July 31, 2002. This new rule will enable alien workers to file Form I-485, the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, cuncurrently with Form I-140, the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, when a visa is immediately available. Previous to this interim rule, individuals seeking to apply for permanent residency via Form I-485 were required to wait for both approval of Form I-140 and the immediate availability of an immigrant visa. This process led to unnecessary delays for many alien workers.

This interim rule will improve the efficency and customer service aspects of the INS, and will support the INS’s continued efforts to provide for the filing of petitions and applications via direct mail.

Individuals with employment-based visa petitions pending on July 31, 2002 will also be eligible for the benefits of concurrent filing. To be eligible for these benefits, alien workers must file Form I-485 with the applicable fee. Alien workers must also file a copy of Form I-797, the Notice of Action, in order to establish that their Form- I-140 was received and accepted by the INS. While Form I-485 is pending, alien workers will also be able to apply for employment authorization using Form I-765, the Application for Employment Authorization, and for advance parole authorization using Form I-131, the Application for Travel Document.

In no way does this interim rule change the current requirements for eligibility regarding Forms I-140 and I-485. Written comments about this rule must be submitted on or before September 30, 2002.