A Sinn Fein politician has warned Irish green card lottery applicants to stay vigilant over online scams.

During a recent trip to the US, Sinn Fein Newry and Mourne Councillor Pat McGinn advised those applying for the green card lottery to only do so through the official US Department of State website.

"The Coalition of Irish Immigration Centers have pointed out that there are a number of fraudulent websites and companies trying to take advantage of immigrants who wish to participate in the DV Lottery for monetary gain,” McGinn said.

“It is important that applicants understand that submissions can only be made via the US Department of State website, and that there is no cost associated with the process.”

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.

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McGinn, who has been a long time supporter of legalizing the undocumented Irish living in the US, advised those with questions regarding the lottery to contact their local immigration center.

“The Department of State has all the pertinent information regarding the lottery outlined on their website, and applicants should use this site as their reference. If people have questions, they can always contact their regional Irish Centers for assistance."

McGinn concluded: “Potential applicants should read instructions and follow directions carefully, and be aware that the Department of State does not notify successful applicants via letter or email, but that applicants must check the status of their application online at the US Department of State website."

Diversity Visa applications should only be submitted through official DS websiteGoogle Images