The US Embassy in Dublin has confirmed that due to a computer error the annual US visa lottery will have to be redone. Over 22,000 applicants worldwide, including some Irish, were erroneously told that they were eligible for the green card visa program.

Every year the US Government makes 50,000 ‘Diversity Immigrant Visas’ available. Those eligible are selected at random from the application who come from  36 countries with the lowest rates of immigration to the United States.

An official told RTE that the United States regretted any inconvenience or disappointment caused by their mistake. Unfortunately the results of the draw are invalid as they did not represent a fair random selection of entrants.

Due to a computer programming error 90 percent of the winners were selected in the first two days of applicants rather than from the entire batch of applications over the 30-day registration period.

At least 19.6 million people had applied for the visas. The Diversity Visa allows the applicants a route to a US green card for permanent residency.

The lottery will be redrawn on July 15.