Irish lawyer in Florida charging $200 to applicants for free Diversity Visa forms
Applicants warned to be vigilant in face of scams
An Irish immigration official has warned green card lottery applicants to remain vigilant for scams, as the 2014 Diversity Visa Program opened on Tuesday.
“At this time of year there are always online scams out there trying to tell you to pay for the free service,” Siobhan Dennehy, Executive Director of the Emerald Isle Immigration Center (EIIC), told the Irish Voice.
“I would encourage people to seek reputable and free advice here at the center.”
“There is no way you should have to pay for this,” she said. Instead, Dennehy advises people to donate to the immigration center.
The Diversity Visa Program (DV-2014), more commonly known as the green card lottery, began accepting applications on Tuesday October 2 and will close at noon, EDT, Saturday, November 3, 2012. Some 55,000 permanent resident visas are offered each year to applicants from countries with low rates of immigration to the US.
“We strongly encourage applicants not to wait until the last week of the registration period to enter. Heavy demand may result in website delays. No entries will be accepted after noon, EDT, on November 3, 2012,” a statement from the Public Affairs Section of the Embassy said.
According to official DV-2011 figures, over 12 million people from the eligible countries submitted applications for the lottery. Some 6,848 people from the Republic of Ireland entered the DV-2011 draw. Of that, 201 applicants were selected and 94 approved.
Last year, over 7,500 people entered the draw and 138 were selected. Final approval figures are not yet available for DV-2013.
“Certainly the number of Irish winners has reduced,” Dennehy pointed out. “That being said, we would encourage people to enter.”
“You apply in 2012. If selected, you get called for interview in 2013 and you’re actual green card is processed in 2014.”
China, Canada, India and the UK are just a few of the countries excluded from the program, as more than 50,000 immigrants from each country arrived here in the past five years.
Applicants can only apply online through the official US Department of State website during the registration period. There is no fee involved. Once their application has been received, applicants are provided with a unique confirmation number. If the number is lost, there is no way to retrieve it.
Those selected will not receive notifications or letters by regular postal mail. Instead, on May 1st 2013, applicants must log onto the official DV-2014 website and input their confirmation number to determine whether they have been selected for further processing.
Dennehy advised that anyone confused by the application should contact the EIIC.
“Our mission is to let everyone know that we have a full staff and attorney that are available for free to offer advice.”
“Direct any questions about technology to us.”
From her Florida based law practice, Irish immigration attorney Caro Kinsella, said that some diversity lottery hopefuls prefer to have a lawyer submit their application.
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