Jamaica Magazine

Immigration: Diversity Immigrant Visa Program and Jamaicans

The famous Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is an immigration program that is regulated by the United States government. The Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered annually by the Department of State. The Immigration law provides for a class  of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants,” from countries with historically low rates of  immigration to the United States. For fiscal year 2015, 50,000 diversity visas (DVs) will be available. There is no cost to register for the DV Program. Applicants who are selected in the lottery (“selectees”) must meet simple, but strict, eligibility requirements in order to qualify for a diversity visa. Selectees are chosen through a randomized  computer drawing. Diversity visas are distributed among six geographic regions and no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available DVs in any one year.

For DV-2015, natives of the following countries are not eligible to apply, because the United States government has determined that more than 50,000 natives of these countries have  immigrated to the United States in the previous five years:

Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland-born), Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, 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. http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_1318.html

Unfortunately for DV-2015 Jamaican citizens will not be able to apply for the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. The Diversity Immigration Visa Program has traditionally been awarded to countries that have a low immigration rate to the United States. Based on this information we have reasoned that Jamaica was not placed on the DV-2015 list because more than 50,000 natives of Jamaicans have immigrated to the United States in the previous five years. Whether or not Immigration will place Jamaica on the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program list will be based primarily on the actual number of Jamaican citizens who have immigrated to the United States in the previous 5 years prior to the date of the next Diversity Program. The decision as to whether or not Jamaicans will be included in the future is based solely on the United States’ discretion. As such, there is no way to accurately predict when Jamaicans will once again be included. Based on the United States ‘ reasoning it appears that Jamaica will probably be once again be allowed to apply for the Diversity Immigration Visa Lottery program once the overall immigration rate of Jamaicans immigrating to the United States starts to drastically decrease. Currently there is no way to accurately predict if and when this will happen. Consequently we will have to wait for the next eligibility requirements for DV-2016.  In the interim Jamaican citizens will need to take efforts to immigrate through the other available options that are applicable to their situation.

Everyone please remember that we write these immigration articles to provide a service to you. We want our articles to address immigration questions and concerns that you want to hear about. If you have a question or an immigration topic that you would like to learn more about you can contact us directly at 678-736-5600 or via email at: [email protected].


Disclaimer: This article is a broad overview of various immigration issues. This article is not legal advice and should not be taken as legal advice. This article is provided as a public service and is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Any reliance on the information contained herein is taken at your own risk. The information provided in this article should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.


About the Writer:
Safiya Byars is the founder and senior partner of the Byars Firm, Inc. She is a native of Kingston, Jamaica.  Attorney Byars shows her clients the best ways to get their cases approved the FIRST time while reducing processing times and avoiding immigration red flags that result in delays, denials, and deportation.  The Byars Firm is located at 3720 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Suite D2, Chamblee, Georgia 30341. Attorney Byars handles all immigration matters, deportation defense, family law, and criminal issues. Attorney Byars can be reached at 678-736-5600, 404-992-6506 or via email at [email protected]  and www.byarslawgroup.com.

About the author

Safiya Byars, Esq

Safiya Byars is the founder and senior partner of the Byars Firm. Attorney Byars serves as the Chair of the Family Immigration Continuing Learning Education and the Vice-Chair of the Immigration Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia. She is a native of Kingston, Jamaica. The Byars firm is located at 3720 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Suite D2, Chamblee, Georgia 30341. The Byars Firm handles Immigration, Family, and Estate Planning matters. We can be reached at 678-736-5600 and email: [email protected].