The Department of State just announced that the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program 2018 (DV 2018) registration period will begin at 12 noon, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) (GMT–4), Tuesday, October 4, 2016, and end at 12 noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST) (GMT–5), Monday, November 7, 2016. Do not wait until the last minute to register as that may cause heavy internet traffic.

This program provides immigrant visas to six geographic regions. However, for DV 2018 registrants from the following countries are not eligible to submit an entry: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam. Persons born in Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR, and Taiwan are eligible. The good news is that for DV 2018, Ecuador is now eligible.

In order to be eligible to register, you must be born in a DV 2018 eligible country. However, if you were not born in an eligible country, you can register under your spouse’s eligible country of birth as long as your spouse is included in your submission and you both enter the United States as immigrants together. Another alternative is to register under one of your parents’ eligible country of birth only if neither of them were legal residents at the time of your birth. The other requirement is that you must have the U.S. equivalent of a high school diploma or two years of training or work experience within the past five years in an occupation that have those minimum requirements for job performance.

To register for the DV 2018 Program go to dvlottery.state.gov. Make sure that you submit complete entries. There are no fees to register for DV 2018. Those who register can check if they “won” the lottery starting May 2, 2017.