Irish citizens are among those who are eligible for the Diversity Visa lottery which starts on Tuesday October 5 and ends on November 3rd.

The 50,000 visas will be shared among 35 countries and winners will be able to secure a green card.

Some Irish undocumented have entered and won visas in the past and it is expected that many will try again. The lottery winners are decided by a random drawing and must then pass an educational and background check.

The visas are also known as Schumer Visas called after the New York senator who created them. They were originally lobbied and won by the Irish immigration lobby who wanted to ensure that Irish citizens, locked out by the 1965 Act, had another alternative.

In practice, the Irish number of applicants have been overwhelmed by those from other countries with larger populations, but a few hundred annually do go to Ireland.

“The idea was to diversify the immigrant pool,” said John Wilcock, a visa specialist with the State Department.

The Diversity Visa Lottery is open to natives of countries that have sent fewer than 50,000 immigrants to the United States in the last five years. Countries that are the source of high numbers of immigrants are excluded from the lottery.

Each diversity visa lottery is named after the fiscal year for which it is designed. This version is known as DV-2012 because the visas will be issued during fiscal year 2012 ( October 1, 2011–September 30, 2012).

The only way to apply for the lottery is to register online at the designated State Department website. Applications will be accepted only from noon EDT ( 16:00 GMT ), Tuesday, October 5, 2010, to noon EDT ( 16:00 GMT ), Wednesday, November 3, 2010. No applications will be accepted after that. Each applicant will receive a unique confirmation number at the end of the registration process.

Details are available at